Welcome to my blog about my journey through this book and it's challenges. It's a simple exercise, but it's good for me. I hope you enjoy the blips and slips and funny moments. You may even learn a thing or two too!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Week 13--Cause & Effect--Tuesday Evening

Well, I did it; I started the ball rolling to find out how to volunteer at our local art museum.  I love the IMA; I especially love the Spring at the IMA--daffodil favorite spring blooming bulb!  I researched opportunities to volunteer and they offer several--more than I was aware were offered.  I opted to volunteer for the special events.  There's always a palpable amount of excitement in the air around special events; it's fun to be a part of, even if you're not the person on the guest list ;)

If you would like to volunteer at the IMA follow this link:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Week 13--"Cause and Effect"--Sunday Evening

This week's card displayes a picture of a bird with a thermometer in its mouth and a cast on its left leg...odd.  The back of the "Cause and Effect" card reads:

"Rather than feeling powerless in the face of all the misery you see or read about in the paper, and instead of being annoyed by the solicitations for money you get in the mail, find a cause that really means something to you.  Call and find out how to volunteer and get involved.  Even if it's just for an hour a week or for a single special event, showing up and helping out in person can alleviate that paralyzing sense of powerlessness--you'll benefit and so will a cause you believe in."

At this very moment I have no idea what to do; where should I volunteer?  I think I need to do research...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Week 12--Gentle Driving--Thursday Evening

Nothing much to report today on the topic of gentle driving; I did, however, end up behind a Buick LeSabre :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Week 12--Gentle Driving--Tuesday Evening

I must admit that this week's task is easy to forget but I did try my husband's technique for clarifying same-time stop sign arrival.  It worked well.  However, I almost checked a poor man this morning on the side of the road.  He wasn't walking against traffic--he was walking with it in the early morning wearing a gray shirt and somewhat emerged from the brush on the side of the road.  Luckily I saw him before making him my hood ornament.  Not what I would classify as gentle driving on my part.  This evening in an attempt to make up for the near accident, I did make an effort to slow down on my way home as I became aware that I was whizzing through the neighborhood in a hurry to get home for dinner.  Driving is to be on constant alert--you never know what's going to jump out at you from all sides!

On a completely separate note, I must share the picture below representative of the crazed Canada Goose that attacked a colleague and I outside yesterday.  It was one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time.  The goose swooped in off the lake flanking us; I darted left, my colleague right.  The goose went after him with full force--hissing and flapping those wings like he was falling from the sky.  My colleague lost his eyeglasses in the rose garden (and incurred a few cuts and scrapes) and had to later retrieve them with the help of another co-worker and a rake to fend off the territorial goose.  The image is forever emblazoned into my memory--I'm just glad I didn't lose an eye!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week 12--"Gentle Driving" Sunday Evening

I am now three months into this project to complete the Make A Difference book (cleverly bound as a deck of cards with tasks for each week).  I have found time is flying by...which is both encouraging when completing a project that lasts all year but saddening since it's nearly April.  However, it is Spring!  I love Spring.  It was a brisk day here in the Midwest but all in all, a sunny fantastic one. 

Gentle Driving:  this week's card reads, "If you must drive, try a gentler approach.  Make it your mission to convey such a gracious and relaxed attitude to the other drivers around you that it can't help but be contagious.  Smile and let the other driver at a stop sign intersection go ahead of you.  Through your courteous example, others might even see how unnecessarily aggressive their own driving is.  Watch out for an be especially gentle on bicyclist and pedestrians."

My initial thought about this week's task is that last week's topic of my prejudice towards Buick drivers will have to be laid down.  How ironic that this week I will need to work towards auto-harmony.  My husband has a technique to clear up the ambiguity of " Who goes next?" when two cars arrive at the stop sign simultaneously.  He points to the other driver to defer to them first--always.  If they go, good; if they offer him to go first, even better.  I saw it in action a couple times today and it was brilliant!  I will start with this technique tomorrow and go from there.  By the way, aren't we supposed to be gentle to cyclists and pedestrians since they have the right of way?

Just for fun...happy drivers!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Week 11--Examine a Prejudice--Friday Night

I did't find an opportunity to speak with someone who owns a Buick so that I may examine the person behind the wheel.  Therefore, I cannot answer the final question of this week's Make a Difference task:  to learn more about the group/person against which you are prejudice--were they what you expected

I should give all Buick drivers the benefit of the doubt until I wind up driving behind them on a busy road.  Until then, however hardened it may sound, I will keep up my defenses and watch out for sudden and frequent usage of the brakes :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Week 11--Examine a Prejudice--St. Patrick's Thursday Night

I should be drinking Guinness right now--should is the operative word.  However, I am not drinking Guinness, I am writing a blog post.  The upside of this is that it was, and is turning out to be a spectacular spring evening.

Q & A #4 on what I'm prejudice against Buicks:

Q4:  Have you or a friend had a bad experience?

A4:  There is no particular bad experience driving behind or beside a Buick; it's really just a culmination of several short busts of bad Buick mayhem which have lead to a general prejudice.  I can't recall a bad friend experience with a Buick either.  Recalling to mind now, I'm usually trying very hard not to curse and spew expletives while following a Buick.  It's as if those driving are in their own bizarro world--no speed limits, no rushing, no pressing deadlines...perhaps I should just chill out :) 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Week 11--Examine a Prejudice--Wednesday Night

Q & A #3 on why I'm prejudiced against Buicks.

Q3:  What threatens or scares you about Buicks?

A3:  Geeze, where do I start? Reason number one on what scares me about Buick drivers?  Here's the link to the video of the woman caught speeding 102 mph because she was late to her hair appointment...and driving a Buick.
Woman-arrested-going-102mph to her-hair-appointment

I consider myself a good driver and defensive.  However, there's only so much defense against Buicks on the Loose!  I just googled "Buicks on the Loose" and  and this picture popped up:  Nuff' Said :)
(Yes, I know it's a stereotype...but it's more often right than wrong)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Week 11--Examine a Prejudice--Tuesday Evening

Q & A #2 on why I think poorly of Buick LeSabres:

Q2:  When did my prejudice of Buick's start?

A2:  When I started driving; no, let's move that to when I started driving long distances to and from college.  Hours on the road will undoubtedly put you either in front of, or, if so unlucky, behind a Buick LeSabre.  The prejudice has grown like a weed since 2000; ten years of road experience has left a indelible mark--thankfully not on my vehicle.

A reader of this blog informed me that even though I think ill of Buicks in general, they made the most "badass" car of the 80's.  Please see exhibit A below...The Grand National. I'm impressed.

Figure A:  The "Badass" Grand National

Monday, March 14, 2011

Week 11--Monday of "Examine a Prejudice"

Question & answer #1 on why I am prejudice against Buick LeSabres:

Q1:  What is behind the prejudice?

A1:  Numerous moments in time when a Buick driven by an apathetic (or overly cautious) driver endanger my existence solidified my prejudice.  Granted, I'm usually in a hurry, and for those of you who know me, I do move quickly and I'm often on the move.  However, I have never been issued a traffic ticket for speeding (a warning, yes, but no official ticket :).  Having said that, it does not change the fact that when driving behind one of these said LeSabres I have had to back off twice the distance due to the bob and weave of their big back end.  Crossing the middle line several times within a half mile is not broad daylight...without rain, snow, sleet or hail.  Or, my favorite--the sudden stop for no apparent reason--in the middle of the road accompanied by a sudden burst of speed...followed by a second, or even third sudden stop.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week 11--"Examine a Prejudice"

Nearly three months into my 52 weeks to Make a Difference in 2011 project and thus far many of the weekly tasks have been intrinsic in nature.  They've required much reflection and self-examination, but haven't been devoid of merit.  Week 11 asks me to "Examine a Prejudice." I can't help myself; every time I read or hear the word prejudice, I think of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth:


The card reads, "Is there a category of people that you don't like?  Bodybuilders? Smokers? Jewish American Princesses?  Prejudiced people? What's behind the prejudice?  When did it first start?  What threatens or scares you about that group?  Have you or a friend had a bad experience?  And now for the hard part:  When the opportunity casually presents itself (or you consciously create it), talk to someone against whom you hold a prejudice and learn about them as a person.  Are they what you expected?

There are five questions in the aforementioned paragraph I can answer about the group of which I am prejudiced:  Buicks and more often, the drivers of Buicks. Yes, that's right...I hate driving behind Buicks.  Typically it's the classic Buick LeSabres driven by my elders (usually) and I find each experience both predictable and unnerving.  I'll take this week to ponder each question and answer one a night and see how many Buicks I find myself irritatingly driving behind this week. 

I truly believe God places Buicks in my path to test my patience...or save me from my own sometimes road rage-ish behavior.  My auto arch nemesis below is the target of my "unfavorable, sometimes preconceived opinions and feelings formed without knowledge, thought, or reason." In other words, my prejudice.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Week 10--Saturday Night

Upon reflection of my behavior this past week, I am humbled to say I would not want the "next generation" to behave in a similar manner for the most part.  What does that mean?  It means this past week consisted of more lows than highs--but not all was lost.  I certainly would not encourage younger generations to sleep as little, worry as much, or ride the roller coaster of emotion I experienced this past week.  Living weeks like his past one are wrinkle-makers. One thing I do want the "next generation" to understand...learn to forgive yourself...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week 10--Sunday Morning--"The Next Generation"

Before beginning this week's make a difference task, let me take a moment to say that much did not occur last week with my task to "buy recycled."  I did shop last week, but what I had to purchase could not have been accomplished with buying recycled goods.  For example, undergarments--an absolute "No" buying recycled.  Makeup to reduce redness on the cheeks--again, no can do with recycled foundation.  Oh, and fruit--heck no...not a recycled item.  I did, however, turn down the lady at V.S. when she offered me a shiny paper bag to carry my unmentionables.  I told her I would use the free bag I had just earned.  It was only one shiny, stripey paper bag; but it's one less stored in my closet collecting dust.

This week's card displays two smiling adolescents.  The card reads, "The Next Generation."  "Whether you know it or not, you are teaching every day.  What would a young onlooker learn from your example?  Does your behavior reflect the values you would want to instill in kids today?  Through your actions, by volunteering, talking to kids, or reaching out in some other way, communicate the values and beliefs you would want the next generation to possess."

Oh Dear...let's look at this...essentially it comes down to behaving maturely and lovingly.  Honestly, I'm afraid my behavior the last few weeks has not always been what I would want "the next generation" to express.  Looks like I will need to be on my best behavior this week--and really mean it too.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Week 9--Thursday Early Morning

I haven't purchased anything except food this past week...and buying recycled food is not an option.  I must confess, I don't buy recycled all that often in my daily life if I really think about it.  I do make efforts to be responsible about using items most efficiently and buying only when absolutely necessary.  With the exception of clothing; however, does purchasing items off eBay count as recycling?  If so, then I have made my contributions to Mother Earth. 

Since I don't have much to write about this week since I don't buy recycled, how about those Oscar fashions?  I love fashionable dresses; here are a few of my favorites from last Sunday:

Amy Adams-sequins and blue are a fair girl's best friends!

Only Halle can pull off a "barely buff" dress like this:

Beautiful red

I cant' help but think of him as "Mr. Darcy."