Thursday, December 30, 2010

Moment of the Day: A Word of Kindness

Moment of the Day

After finally using my Groupon for a facial today, I drove in a zen-like state to my favorite sandwich shop for a healthy Garden Delight sandwich (with a side of greasy potato chips... yin, yang).  I walked right up to the counter and placed my order.  As I turned around to take a seat, I was shocked to see a line of about 12 people standing behind me.  They all came in at the same time and only two people were working - one at the register and one at the sandwich station.  

As I sat in my zen-like state observing the situation, I became sympathetic to these girls and wanted to jump in and help.  Both of them were efficient and quick which probably helped the attitude of all those waiting in line.  No one seemed to be giving them grief, thank goodness.  But no one was cheering them on either.  They were pretty indifferent.

And here's where I wanted to step in again and suggest to these remarkably patient customers that they pay the girls a compliment on how well they were handling the rush.  I've done my time in the food service industry and I've had my fair share of moments like this, and I gotta tell ya, when a customer notices that you're working your butt off to take care of everyone, and they say something positive to you about it, it makes your day.  It gives you a boost and you somehow find even more energy and motivation to get the job done.  

Moral of the Moment of the Day, the next time you're a patient customer being waited on by a service person who's obviously overwhelmed, just say, "Hey, you're doing a great job."  It'll make their day.  And yours.  

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Freedom from Freedom!

I started reading this book oh, about 4 months ago:

Jonathan Franzen's Freedom.

I wanted to love it.  And I did at first.  But about half-way through, I started disliking the characters and stopped caring about what happened to them.  It became extremely difficult to read the rest, hence the months-long trek.  

I suffered through it though, because this book was heralded as the Great American Novel by just about every book reviewer out there and I figured by the time I finished, I'd get it.  (And I must admit, that little cat-fighting session between Franzen & Jodi Picoult intrigued me.)  But I don't get it.  I was elated to say good-bye to the unlikeable Berglund family.

What am I missing?  Did any of you read it and like it?  If so, write me and tell me why.  

Monday, December 27, 2010

Clairemont Library Book Club Book of the Month... The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells.

I received a phone call from a Maxine a few days ago passionately requesting that I return to the Clairemont Library's book club because numbers are dwindling and they're trying to keep it alive.

So I'm reading The  Invisible Man.  At first, I was skeptical and didn't think I'd enjoy it, but it's actually a very easy and pleasant read.  The most significant thing about reading this book, though, is the way I'm reading it.  

For the first time ever, I'm reading a book on my computer!  (And no, I don't mean that I have an actual book propped up on my computer, hee hee.)  And it's actually enjoyable!!

I don't have a Kindle or a Nook or an iPad or etc. (hint, hint for future birthday present.. ;) so I'm reading it on Blio which is a pretty cool e-reader for folks like me who haven't bought the latest technology yet.  Blio is a free e-reader program that you can download and install onto your computer and its library of books, both free and non-free, is pretty extensive.  The Invisible Man was a free download.

Here are a couple of (very poor quality... sorry!) screenshots:

 I like how it simulates actual page-turning.

If the commute to the Clairemont Library isn't too far for you, come on and join me on January 5th!  The book club meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:00 PM at The Same Old Grind coffee shop on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard (by Keil's).  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wreaths Across America

On Saturday, a friend and I, along with over 700 others, volunteered to help with "Wreaths Across America", a national event that took place all over the country at 12:00 EST.  We placed wreaths on the headstones of fallen veterans at Fort Rosecrans Cemetery.  Though I've driven by the Cemetery countless times on my way to Cabrillo National Monument and the tide pools, I've never once stopped there for a visit, until Saturday.  It's a beautiful and sad place all at the same time.

As I get older and better understand life and mortality, I find myself becoming more and more in awe of people who voluntarily put their lives at risk for what they judge to be noble causes.  These veterans signed up for a career that they knew full well would put them in harm's way.  And when they went to war, their lives were literally in jeopardy every single day until they returned home.  

Whatever is in their make-up is certainly not in mine and I admire them for it.  I freak out for weeks after seeing a scary movie.  I could not handle being in a war zone, and thankfully, I'll never have to find that out first hand thanks to the brave men and women who do handle it.

Think about your life.  What are you doing right now?  Probably sitting comfortably in your home reading this.  Right now at this moment, someone just like you is in the middle of a war zone, sitting uncomfortably, hoping to make it through the day without getting shot or bombed on, miles away from everyone who cares about them.

I felt honored to place a wreath on a fallen veteran's grave:

On a lighter note.  Extremely amusing that the wreaths came out of this truck:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Simple Pleasures

The campus library had a Holiday Cookbook Sale last week.  I went expecting to shop new books, but duh!  It's a library!  They were selling used cookbooks from their shelves.  I was pleasantly surprised by this, partially because it meant I could buy more.  That's always a good thing.  Here's what I got for $9.00:

Four of the books are by MFK Fisher.  I hear she's one of the best food writers out there, so for $1.00-$2.00 per book, I figured I'd decide that for myself.  I also got Isabel Allende's food book, Aphrodite.  I loved her book, Eva Luna and Aphrodite had been on my to-read list when it came out, but I forgot about it somewhere along the way.  A quarterly food journal and a book called Apples & Man round out my purchases.  I bought Apples & Man for the title alone.  Sounds like an epic battle or something.  APPLES & MAN (read in a serious, doomed voice).

I made croutons tonight:

I don't know why, but I get a supreme sense of satisfaction when I make something that I always used to buy pre-made.  All growing up, I never thought about where my food came from or how it was made.  But now, with my interest in food and cooking  growing with each passing year (pun oh so intended :) I'm discovering how everything is made, from potato chips to ketchup to croutons, and I'm absurdly fascinated by how easy it all is, and how much better it tastes and how much better it is for you.  I think this will be a hobby that I'll never tire of (of which I will never tire?).

Today, I'm thankful...

...for one of my most favorite daily moments:  The moment I walk through my front door after being out all day.  I experience this feeling every Monday through Friday at about 4:35 PM.  If I could capture that feeling in a bottle and rub it on like lotion throughout the day...smiles.