Tell Me Something Good

This poster hangs outside of one of my classrooms. It inspires me daily.

What can you tell me about your good stuff?

This blog is a place for good. But, good often comes out of struggles, pain, evil, lack, and on and on. Disaster gives us a chance to rise up and be better human beings and doings to make a difference.

So many heroes rose from the ashes of the terror attacks on September 11. In every hurricane, tornado, storm surge and firestorm comes hundreds of volunteers giving their energy and sharing their resources selflessly. In my hometown of Santa Rosa, California, I’ve witnessed kindness in the form of millions of dollars of donations, back-breaking labor, and open arms bringing in newly homeless victims while this town tries to recover from last October’s devastating firestorm that leveled most of its buildings and homes. Even my friends from Chandler, AZ brought winter coats, scarves, gloves, clothes and money for me to bring up to this community last December. Plus one of my former students from over 20 years ago donated $100 to help a student dancer I heard about when volunteering at Vanguard Properties in Sebastopol, CA. She just understood what it feels like to have dance ripped out from under you when you lose everything. Complete selflessness for people they would never meet.

I am blown away by the magnitude of kindness our species is capable of exuding. Aren’t you?

More often though, are small, tender moments of mercy and generosity that we might miss if we aren’t looking. Little things that happen almost everyday…someone holds the door for you, another car lets you pull in front in the long line waiting to merge. I learned in driver’s training back in high school that one good turn deserves another.

What have you noticed on your daily walk through life? Please share them here, there, anywhere! Because you might inspire a good turn that keeps building and building and building.

Here are a couple of my experiences lately!

This is Josh at Einstein Bagels on the corner of Shea and Tatum Blvd’s in Scottsdale. He made my day just by wearing the Caribou Coffee antlers asked of him. A smiling, happy man offering up a mocha latte and a toasted Everything Bagel with cream cheese yesterday. I entered his store, frustrated, running behind due to the Maps App and hungry. One smile and laugh from an antlered man and it was a 180 degree attitude shift for me. He said he hears that often. Thank you Josh.

Have you met Michael at the Apple Store at Chandler Fashion Square? If you need a genius, he’s your guy. He was patient, funny, and gave me new, working!, iPhone X when my first one stopped recognizing my touch. The touch screen on the X’s has been a factory problem, it wasn’t the frantic tapping on my part…I swear.

Have goodness to share? Please let us all know what good has come across your radar! Your voice can reach across continents, and change a little corner of the world.

How to be Beautiful, Part 1

Beauty Tip #1:

Lovely, right?

Our beauty, or lack of, is always, merely the reflection of where we are directing our gaze. 

For example:

Beaming with pride for someone else.  I am photographed often in this particular state. I’m a wife, mother, teacher, general “lover of all things sweet and beautiful and good” and I look better when I observe anyone doing even remotely well, and  smiling with every cell. It is a selfless moment, it is a reflection of where I am directing my attention. Beaming with pride looks like this on me and my very patient man: 

In Haiti when we learned how to take a selfie!

Personally, I think we look good wet and thrilled at our new accomplishment. I’m much happier with the photos caught while I’m beaming at someone else as compared to: lost in a silent stare, crying, early in the morning, yawning, no make-up, sick, bored, just for example. 

I’m choosing not to show the other emotions captured. Maybe later.

Webster has this definition of beauty: a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. Has anything exalted your mind or spirit lately?

My point is, and I do have one, that when we look and think on what is lovely, we are happier and nicer and significantly more beautiful.

Imagine what our world would look like if 92% of the people we encounter anywhere were directing their gaze toward beauty.  We would live in some peace, we would not fear random violence, and would deal with each other from a happier place. Sadly though, I follow the news. Scathing words from our capital on all sides; devastating racism, floods, fires, horror, but to stay blindly ignorant and not keep up isn’t the answer either. I believe the answer is within ourselves and reaching out across our streets to make a lovely connection.

I got a virus today from the pit of hell and had to stay home from work, go to Urgent Care and then the drive-through Walgreen’s Pharmacy where my cough suppressant wasn’t ready. Not the best day today. But, when I was pulling out of the Walgreen’s parking lot I was behind this van! Look over here 

So, there I was in my little Prius, coughing and dripping all manner of things across the world and I see that I look lovely today. Nice! The woman who owns the plate never sees her own inspiration. It’s always looking behind her. This woman is brightening the lives of those who also are waiting to turn left and she never sees them. I think I’ll hang this message from the back of all my pants. Or I will look around more, at my neighborhood, at the people I pass and try to be more like this lovely lady: trickling kindness behind me and not looking back to see if it was noticed.

I followed her into the Target parking lot. I had a hard time keeping up. Gotta love a Prius! (I do actually.) But I just couldn’t get the shot, she was speedy quick! Like a creeper I pulled behind her parking spot and took the photo. She got out of her van quickly, so I couldn’t escape. I rolled down my window and thanked her for lifting me up. It stopped her, this coughing stranger following her and staying long enough to connect. Her reply, “I think license plates should say good things.” She was way cool.

Have you seen any license plates like this? I’d love to hear what else is out there!

In conclusion, if you can literally find nothing that pleasurably exalts your spirit, I’ve found the best face mask! My skin actually looks way better. I highly recommend this stuff! Farmacy Honey Potion Face Mask I learned about this wonder-stuff from a glowing 30-year-old. And Sephora has a better price than Amazon at this moment.

I swore the horse was following me. My joy was complete, a new horse! No ULKLVLY on my butt yet! But, no, he wasn’t. The beauty behind and in front of me still remains in my mind. (I LOVE NEW YORK!)

This is My Chandler

Our Chandler mascot, at The Ostrich Festival!

“I am sick of having to look over my shoulder all the time. I want to live in a safer, gentler, happier world. What creature wouldn’t?” James Bowen from one of his fabulous books about his cat, Bob, and his recovery from heroin addiction.

My husband just informed me we have lived in Chandler, AZ for 20 years. This was shocking news to me. That’s just not what I thought. I thought we moved here ‘a couple years ago.’ But, um, no. I must learn the freeway system now.

We’ve lived here long enough to have an opinion. It’s been the right place to raise children and live a good life. But, I’m kind of a big city girl, I’ve lived in Manhattan, L.A., Brussels, Belgium, Japan, and have been fortunate enough to travel the world. But, I’ve lived in this suburb in Chandler longer than I could have ever imagined. And moving here was a good decision.

Here is what I have grown to love/hate about Chandler:

It is the second safest place to live in Arizona. Gilbert, which is right next-door, is the safest place to live in almost anywhere.

Historic Downtown Chandler, established in 1912, is the coolest place we have! On that note, on September 8, 2018 from 5-8 PM I will be playing Harriet “Flip” Fullerton,a Chandler native from the 1930’s, along with 3 other ImprovManiacs/actors in the ChandLore event in Downtown Chandler. I’ll be near CeCe the Ostrich (pictured below) “Flip” was the life of any party, she was one of John F. Kennedy’s lovers! I’ll have some fun with this part of her life…Come on down and say S’up? That’d be nice.

Love this place!

The Perch Brewery is practically hidden, but if you find it, inside is a lush, brick-lined patio and rooftop bar. It is home to over 50 tropical rescue birds. This place is trendy, unique, and known for their tater-tots and craft beer. I love this place! It looks like Walt Disney moved into the bad part of town and dropped The Tiki Room down on an asphalt jungle. Plus, my youngest daughter has worked there for about 4 years.

At the other end of their parking lot sits Improvmania next door to Gangplank, a think tank for entrepreneurs to create and connect. My husband, Keith, The Very Patient Man, is an Improvmaniac. Dave and Colleen Specht own and run this business. They are hilarious. You should go laugh some weekend night, because laughing is the key to happiness. Say hi to Keith or Dave or Colleen. Maybe stop by Gangplank first? They are a city funded company and offer up an important place to grow or create a business. Very cool.

In the basement of the ‘haunted’ San Marcos Hotel is an unmarked speakeasy, The Ostrich, a neighborhood craft cocktail lounge. If you find it, once inside, you too, can have a signature cocktail made by a renowned mixologist for about the same price as the average Chandler mortgage payment. JK, it’s not that bad…It’s fun too, so worth it. Chandler has this love of Ostrich’s…I’m fairly certain it’s symbolic of something; a flightless bird that sticks it’s head in the sand…you can make your own opinion on this comparison.  

The square in the middle of Historic Downtown Chandler is home to the Tumbleweed Tree lighting ceremony the first week in December. It’s a Christmas tree made from hundreds of tumbleweeds. There’s a parade and a block party. It’s cute and small-town and brings families and businesses together and is a bit quirky, in the best possible way.

All things Historic Downtown Chandler: https://www.visitchandler.com/about-chandler/downtown-chandler

 Other stuff that you might like to know if you’re thinking about moving here:

Our neighborhood social media sites are full of the good things we do for each other here in Chandler and this positivity lifts up and over:

The constant state of road construction. Our motto is: If in doubt, dig it up.

The ‘dry heat’

The cactus and rock landscaping

The debilitating summer temperatures

The earth that has dried to the consistency of cement

Being essentially beige

Wearing oven mitts to drive

Oh, did I mention it’s hot?

The drivers here aren’t great. The roads are wide and long with traffic lights one mile apart. This is just enough distance to get up a good speed and choose to run red lights or slam on breaks. We have traffic cameras now and the number of fatalities has gone down a little. But, still, good to have a heads up while driving through an intersection here.

When we first moved here, I called a doctor’s office to ask for directions (before GPS) and the assistant, who was completely serious, said, “You’ll recognize it because it’s the beige stucco building.” As if this set the building apart…so there’s this mentality too.

That’s about it!

On the plus side:

♦     The overall crime rate in Chandler is 11% lower than the national average.

♦     For every 100,000 people, there are 6.91 daily crimes that occur in Chandler.

♦     Chandler is safer than 53% of the cities in the United States.

♦     In Chandler you have a 1 in 40 chance of becoming a victim of any crime.

 Intel, a ginormous tech company lives at the end of our street. In February of 2017, they announced they were investing $7 billion to finish a factory, Fab 42, which will reportedly add 2,000 to 3,000 jobs when they finish construction in 2021.

What this means to most of us in Chandler, is that Fab 42 will bring more road ‘rehab.’ along with more neighbors! Intel  makes a significant impact in our community by making massive donations to Title 1 schools and providing backpacks and school supplies to under-served communities along with volunteering for their employees to be a part of their work day. Pretty cool.

 The average income is $72,072. The schools are given a rating of B- by AreaVibes.com. In my experience, my children had an okay to great experience from elementary to high school, which all were in walking distance. Nice.

 Kindness is abundant here.

 Reason enough to stay. And thrive.

This is CeCe. She lives in Downtown Chandler. Did not know she had a name.

The Ostrich is the Chandler Totem. A large, flightless bird or a person who refuses to face reality.

Well, there ya go.

I’d love to hear what quirky thing about your city that you find wonderful, or amusing, or gets in the way of your true destinations. Or more info on Chandler is always good! This post is about to become it’s own page to keep adding on to Chandler-isms.