Day of Kindness

Yesterday, I spent the day completing random acts of kindness.  It was a wonderful day and with each act of kindness I felt empowered and confident. 

I started the day with my dear friend, Jamie Seitz.  Our love for books has bound us together as lifetime friends.  We both cleaned out bookshelves and shared some of our favorite reads with patrons of the Little Free Libraries.   If you would like to locate a Little Free Library near you, please visit their website  https://littlefreelibrary.org .   We filled 13 libraries with nearly 170 books in the pouring rain. 

I continued the days with more random acts.  I wrote anonymous letters of kindness to people who have touched my life or the lives of my children to just say thank you. 

I sat at the public library and paid a few small fines for patrons.  It was a slow day at the library and I left a note at the librarians desk with cash and asked her to please put the money toward patrons who could not use the library because of their fines.  The library is such a wonderful gift and I wanted to share it with someone who might be blocked from using the many resources that the Des Moines Public Library has to offer.

I have been saving cans and bottles for the last three months to donate to an individual who supplements their income by can collection.  I found just the person.  I drove thru the Hy-Vee parking lot.  I helped him with his cans and bottles.  He had a couple of large bags and headed toward the recycling center.  After he got inside, I went back to my car and filled up a shopping cart, moved it inside and told him to have a nice day.  He followed me out and asked, “Hey, what is this all about?”  I told him they were for him.  He smiled and thanked me. 

There are few things that I hate more than receiving a parking ticket.  My next stop was downtown.  I drove around for about twenty minutes looking for the Parking Enforcement Officers.  It was raining very hard and I never located them.  So, I walked down Locust Street filling meters for those that expired meters and ones that were close to expiring. 

My last random act of the day was to stop along the roadside and give cash to those individuals who were standing there hoping someone would stop and help.  As I handed one gentleman the money, he thanked me with tears in his eyes. 

I enjoyed this day so much.  When I retire, I am going to spend a day each month like this.  But for now, I am going to try to be kinder all the time.  There is no need to honk because the guy in front of you did not move instantly when the light changed.  There is no need to dart into a parking spot ahead of someone.  Do you really think the three minutes you saved by cutting in front of the frazzled mom of three at the grocery store is going to make a difference to you?   

It just takes such a little amount of time or money or kindness to really impact someone. Kindness matters.

The List

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

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What Scares Me?

Getting older scares me.  I would guess most people have a fear or two connected with aging.  I asked a few friends about getting older and their responses varied about as much as their personalities.  One friend feared being a burden to relatives because she has no children to care for her.  Another friend worried about her financial situation and whether she had saved enough money to allow her to live comfortably in her retirement years.  A third friend was worried about being unattractive and a fourth was concerned about the loss of possibility. 

As I listened to these smart, articulate and intelligent women, I really took a long, close look at my fears.  I share all the concerns above but I fear the loss of possibility the most.  I believe if you don’t like something, make a change.  Hate your job, go back to school.  Husband is abusive, show him the door.  Don’t like the weather in Iowa, move someplace warmer.  You see my philosophy.  Life is short, find ways to be happy.  Possibility has always led me down the path of life. Recently, I have let my age stop me from thinking about what the future holds. 

In our youth we are filled with the hopes and dreams “growing up” into adulthood. The experience of aging in our formative years is stimulated by our sense of broadening and expanding into self reliance.  Youthful exuberance gives us an illusion of boundless and unlimited future.   Does my future have a limit now?  Is my shelf life shortened now that I am 50? 

I mentioned to a co-worker that I was thinking about going back to college for my Master’s Degree after my girls were finished with high school.  Her response was—“Why would you?”  She followed up with “Won’t your retire soon?”   I followed up with some comments about personal development and such.  But she had me thinking.  Aging comes with boundaries and obstacles that we did not have or recognize in our youth.

Regardless of age, we all deal with the same  impermanence of life.   Your life can change and expand at any age. It can also end at any age with an unexpected accident or illness.  Many famous, successful people have found satisfying careers in middle age.  Joy Behar was a school teacher and launched her comedy career after the age of 40.   Charles Darwin was 50 years old before he published On the Origin of the Species in 1859, the book that espoused the theory for which he best known today. Colonel Harland Sanders founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken company at age 65.

  1. Answer to my own question–“Yes, Barb, you can still can go back to college and finish your Master’s degree or learn to paint or run a marathon.  The possibility is still alive as long as you are.”

The List…

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.


Just Say No…

I cannot stop myself.  I love to volunteer.  I want to help.   I find volunteering my time extremely rewarding.

But there comes a point when a person, me, must say no.  This is a painful experience for me.  I get sweaty, I feel guilty and I lose sleep.  I am often overscheduled to the point of exhaustion. I have owned two mugs and three t-shirts that were purchased for me by loved ones that encourage me to “just say no”.  Yet, I find it a very difficult to turn people down when I am asked for help.

I have a long list of things that I should have turned down.  I once agreed to cut out 75 fish for the swim team, shortly after Carpal Tunnel surgery on my cutting hand.   I have agreed to fry 50 pounds of ground beef and make sloppy joes for the homeless while pregnant.  Keeping in mind, at the time, the smell of fried meat made me sick.  I just cannot stop myself.

I added this to my “50” list because it is something I have always wanted to work on.  I have read a couple of articles on the subject and found that perhaps the reason behind this is not my heart of gold but my need to please people or my need to be included.

I am proud to share that because I have made this a priority, I have turned down two different board positions, helping with a large high school project at my children’s school and turned two families down for dinner.  Yes, I even go to dinner and social occasions with people I do not enjoy.  I have stopped planning showers, birthday surprises and buying all the cards for my team at work, brothers and family members.

I still have a little guilt but I also have some extra time.  The world has not ended and people still like me.  And, I like me.

The List…

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

Just call me a bibliophile…

There are few things I love more in the world than books. I am like a kid in a candy store when I visit the library or a bookstore. I have been having a love affair with books and libraries my entire life. As a child, I would ride, walk or take the bus across town to the Council Bluffs Library. I remember the smell of wet newspapers with great fondness. The library basement use to flood from time to time and the newspapers would get damp and the entire library smelled like wet papers all the time. That awful smell is at the root of many of my fondest childhood memories.

The Council Bluffs Library system acquired a book mobile-a large bus with shelves filled with books.  This was a very happy day for me.  The mobile library came within blocks of my house filled with the promise of adventures, new friends and places to explore.

I first moved to Des Moines in 1993.  As I was looking for a place to live, I was sold by Civic Center Court Apartments in part because of the Des Moines Public Library just across the street.  There was much to do in order to settle into a new city but one of the first things I did was to sign up for my library card.  I have used that card thousands of times for books, magazines, digital books, maps, CDS, movies and experiences.

A few years ago, I received a call from the library asking if they could pass on my name to the Des Moines Register.  The Register was hoping to do a story on SUPER READERS.  They went on to explain to me that they had run a list to inquire which users had checked out the most items.  I was third on the list.  For most people, this would not have been a big deal, but for me it was like receiving an Oscar or Pulitzer.

I spent so much time at the library that Mayor Preston Daniels asked me to be a Des Moines Public Library Trustee.  I spent twelve years on the Des Moines Public Library Board of Trustees.

My girls have grown up at the library.  There is not a week that goes by that I don’t utilize the library.  I have long been a believer that the public library system in this country is the greatest gift to all of us.

My 50 at 50 list contains three different items that are tied to my love of my books.  Over Spring Break – we went to Nashville Tennessee.  Part of our trip included visiting Independently-owned book stores.  We visited five different stores- one in Nashville, two in St Louis Missouri, one in Kansas City Missouri and one in Kansas City, Kansas.  Each store possessed its very own focus and personality.  I was most excited to visit Parnassus Books in Nashville because it is owned by one of my favorite authors-Ann Patchett. In Greek mythology Mount Parnassus was the home of literature, learning, and music.  The store boasts many visiting authors and a large selection of Tennessee authors. 

We travel quite a bit and I know that as I am planning visits to cities, countries, states and towns that I am going to continue visiting independent bookstores wherever my path takes me. 

The List…

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items.

 

 

 

THE PROCEDURE…

At my annual physical, Dr. Jones gently reminded me to have my mammogram and this would be the year that I needed the COLONOSCOPY.  I have heard horror stories about the procedure from friends and relatives.  This was put on my list solely to force my hand. There is something about the sanctity of the list with its quiet pressure to complete items and cross them off.

I called  to schedule my procedure and then started my research.  I find that the web offers way too much information on medical diagnosis and procedures.  The search results often begin with the bad stuff first and then get to the general information next.  I looked for a reputable site and began information gathering. 

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows a doctor to inspect the inner lining of the large intestine using an instrument called a colonoscope   The colonoscopy procedure typically lasts about 30 minutes.   Patients sometimes feel cramping during the procedure. 

My doctor sent out a large package of information about the procedure.  The information was helpful and detailed the procedure from start to finish.  

The cleaning out of the colon was far worse than the procedure itself.  The witch’s brew that the doctors concocted for the cleaning out of the colon works just like magic and tastes awful.  The procedure itself was, for me, a medically induced nap.  They covered me in a heated blanket, put a little sleep mixture into my veins and I didn’t feel, hear or remember a thing. 

The first thing I remember is Ben waking me up.  He hates it when I get more sleep than him.  And the good news is that if they find nothing and you do not have a family history-you do not have to have another colonoscopy for ten years.

The List…

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items

 

 

Inked….

Yes, I got a tattoo.

It took several months before I worked up the nerve to do it.  It was the first item on my list that I started researching right away.   I must have read a dozen articles on tattoos.  I asked friends who have body art to make suggestions for an artist. I visited a local artist named Carrie Black.  She was patient and informative with all my questions and you know I had many.  I scheduled my appointment with her a month in advance. 

Yes, it was painful.  But it was not as bad as I thought it would be.  I would equate the discomfort to scratching a sunburn.  It was more irritating than deeply painful. The redness in the photograph went away in about a half hour.

Before I decided on the artwork I would use, I spent some time with my Sharpie collection and drew in different colors and with different artwork to decide on location of the tattoo, which artwork and color of the ink.   I did not go into this lightly.  I knew all along it was going to be something that symbolized my love for my girls.

It was over in a few minutes.  The image I selected depicts my three daughters in my heart. 

The List…

  • Write a monthly thank you to someone who has had a big impact on my life
  • Give blood
  • Spend an entire day completing random acts of kindness
  • Grant a wish from my mom’s bucket list
  • Get real with money
  • Say no and mean it and feel no guilt
  • Ask for help with no guilt or delay
  • Allow myself to be photographed more often
  • Spend a weekend at the monastery
  • Learn about other religions
  • Join my church as a member
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Belly Dancing Class
  • Pole Dancing Class
  • Body Cleanse and Detox
  • Reflexology
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn to Bartend
  • Learn to Grill
  • Take an Improv Class
  • Ziplining
  • Rock Climbing
  • Hot Air Ballooning
  • Disc Golf
  • Laser Tag
  • Paint Ball
  • Big Repairs on the house this year
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a reading by psychic
  • Go to the rodeo
  • Grape Stomping–yes like the time Lucy and Ethel made wine
  • Tandem biking
  • Compete in an event at the State Fair
  • Drive a convertible
  • Work for a flower shop and deliver flowers for a day
  • Write a blog
  • Read a new book each week
  • Read all the books that my book club selects
  • Film Festival
  • Music Festival
  • Get a passport–the plan to travel out of the country begins..
  • Road Trip alone…Thelma and Louise with no Louise…
  • Train Trip
  • Stephen Colbert Show
  • Independent Bookstore Tour around the Midwest
  • Facial
  • Visit with a cosmetologist for a makeup makeover
  • Join AARP
  • Have a colonoscopy

The items that have been marked through are completed items

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Makeover

I am not vain but I live with three teenage daughters and I am constantly under scrutiny.  They do not filter remarks for me in a way they would with friends or colleagues.   I often am faced with remarks from the girls about how often I color my hair, my lipstick is too light or dark, why I am wearing something and is that outfit age appropriate.  I have learned to have a thick skin.

These comments convinced me to make a visit to the makeup counter for a quick check on my makeup habits.  After a couple of phone calls, I visited Sephora.  I liked the makeup counter at Sephora because they carry many brands.  I explained to Sam that I was visiting her today to check in on makeup trends for my aging skin and I realized the makeup trends I learned in my 20s and 30s might need an update.  I went on to say that the objective was to look as good as I can not recreate the face that I had decades ago.  Sam is a makeup artist – not a magician after all.

I explained my face care regimen to her and she gave my skin a good look and trotted off and returned with a basket full of products that would rival a semester tuition payment at a state university.   Her next suggestion was not her best. She suggested using a magnifying mirror.  Why would I want to do that?  Denial is not a bad place to be when it comes to wrinkles.  Distance is my friend.

Anyway, she gave me some very good suggestions that I will pass on to you.  First, find a foundation that matches your skin tone. Too light makes your skin appear flat and lifeless and too dark adds a dullness and heaviness that is equal to aging.  She suggested picking your color by putting it on your face at the top of your cheekbone without blending.  Second, you need a good concealer.  The important thing about concealer is to find one that is the same color as your foundation.  Otherwise, you find yourself looking like a raccoon.  Third, wear a lipstick or lipcolor that adds fullness. A dark color does just the opposite by making your lips appear smaller and less plump.  She suggested a mauve tone for me.  As far as skin care, she suggested always wearing SPF.  Sun protection factor comes in many different forms.  She suggested finding a moisturizer or foundation that has a SPF of 15 or higher.  She said something that I had not really thought much about and that was use to moisturizer on my hands.  She said lotion is good but my hands could use the good stuff.

The good news is that I got a few new tips for my makeup bag.  The bad news is that I spent over $200 on a few items.