Category Archives: pay it forward

Did Good


As I mentioned in my last post, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to participate in Do Good Day on Wednesday. And as awesome as I expected it would be, it turned out to be even better.

I’m a little late in writing this, so by now, you’ve probably already read what she or she or she or she or she or she had to say about it, so it’s pretty much all been said. But hey – that never stopped me before, so damn it, I will talk about it too.

We met up at the Carnegie Science Center, to find that 77 Kids was already there with a cart filled with cool toys and goodies and – best of all on a sweltering day – freeze pops. The kids heading to the Science Center were very excited to see it loaded down with Silly Bandz, along with the other assorted treats. We couldn’t wait to set up and get started spreading some of our own good.

When we were planning the day (77 kids awesomely gave us the means, but left it up to us what we wanted to do), we decided that we didn’t just want to surprise people with a gift or treat, we wanted to do something that would be appreciated by the recipient, but also something that would encourage them to pay it forward and do something nice for someone else.

What we ended up with was colorful backpacks filled with school supplies and other fun stuff. But the best part was that each backpack contained a colorful little envelope with the words “Your Mission” on the outside. Inside the envelope was a mission for the child to do – a good deed that they could do for someone else. Some were given a bag of Silly Bandz and told to make a new friend and share them, others were given an addressed, stamped envelope to send a picture or letter to a nursing home or to a soldier or veteran. I really hope that the kids were inspired to complete their missions.

It was an amazing, fun day. The kids were absolutely thrilled to get something. The parents were a little wary. And don’t get me wrong – I get it. It’s not often that you get something for free. A lot of them probably suspected they’d end up having to pay for something.

In addition to the money 77 Kids gave us to buy our supplies, they also provided each blogger with a box of goodies to give out – stickers, trinkets, candy, coupons and – get this – 77 dollar bills. We clipped each dollar to a coupon, note card and a little paper telling them how they could do a good deed with the dollar (or for free). And I swear there were more than 77 dollars in each of those boxes. We clipped and folded and sorted until, we boiled ourselves in the sun, but they never seemed to end. Ginny, in particular, was feeling the curse of the multiplying dollars and coupons.

But once we were done, we set out to spread some more good. We walked along the river walkway and gave dollar packets to everyone we saw. Or rather we tried to give them to everyone we saw. Unfortunately, we live in an cynical, suspicious society where instead of seeing someone giving you free money as a good thing, it is seen as OMG WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME CRAZY PEOPLE ARRGGH GET AWAY KEEP YOUR MONEY BACK OFF GET AWAY FROM MY CHILDREN HELP!!!!!

I am totally not kidding. We had reaction ranging from the mildly suspicious ignore-and-walk-faster maneuver, to the misogynistic “I don’t take money from women!” to the jackass who needs to prove something “Give it to someone who needs it – not me!” to the downright hostile group of moms that told me that under no circumstances was I to hand out anything to any of the children in their general area. Meanwhile the kids were all WOOOOOOOOO!!!!! YAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!! MORE!!!!

The kids were the best.

But instead of worrying about the cynical society, I am going to try to do my best to keep spreading kindness. If we all do it, maybe someday the cynical society might become less cynical and more like those kids. Everyone now: WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

All in all, it was a great day spent with some really amazing, kind, giving, funny women and some of their awesome kids. The girl always loves spending time with the actual Burgh Baby, and an added bonus this time around was Ginny’s son, who she deemed “cuuuuute” (she tried to charm him with her burping skills – she’s a delicate flower, that one). Despite the heat and the cynicism, we still had a really nice time.

Thanks to 77 Kids and The Motherhood for putting it all together.

Fine print: I am being compensated for participating in Do Good Day, but they were in no way involved in the content of this post. I am entirely serious when I say that 77 Kids is a great company who cares about the community. And if you visit their store, you’ll see how much thought they have put into creating a great shopping experience for moms shopping with kids (also known as “Hell: Living”).

Do Good


While we were on vacation last week, we decided to spend the day at Dollywood. It’s a nice little park and we hoped to have a good time. But getting ready and getting out of the cabin can be a pain with a when there’s a bunch of people, and we got a late start, putting me in a bit of a mood. Then we got to the park and it was eleventy-seven-hundred degrees out, which didn’t help anyone’s disposition. Then the girl got crabby over fries (as you do), then it got hotter. A couple of us went on a raft ride and left all of our stuff with the non-riders, so it wouldn’t get wet. And then the non-riders lost their ever-loving minds and took off, leaving us with no phones, cameras, money, or any idea how to find them. By this time, I was in a bad, BAD mood.

We decided to hit the “county fair” section of the park where a lot of kid-friendly rides are located while my nephew set off in the blazing heat to find everyone. I spent the next hour or so alternating between trying to enjoy the rides with the girl and muttering terrible things under my breath about every person in the entire park (I get crazy when it’s that hot).

Finally, my nephew came back with our gear and we set of to meet up with everyone. I was still a bit crabby and hot and miserable, but I tried to get past it. But then we hit another “let’s stop and stand around looking stupid and decide what to do next” moment (I hate amusement parks with a crowd of people – too much waiting around) and I thought I would lose my mind – we were all crabby and hot and tired. And then suddenly, a little girl about six years old walked up to us, stopped right in front of us and seemed to be sizing us up.

Then she pulled out a huge stack of tissue paper butterflies and went around the group passing them out, “Let’s see…you need pink, and you need green, and I think you should have blue…”, until every one of us was holding a butterfly. I’m not sure where she got them, or why she felt the need to pass them out, but something about that little girl simply being kind was enough to turn my mood around.

Good deeds come in all kinds of packages. We help a neighbor carry groceries in the house, we donate books to a classroom in need, we walk to raise money for a charity. And sometimes, we simply hand out a small token to an unsuspecting passerby and it can really turn their day around.

Tomorrow, I am participating in Do Good Day, sponsored by 77 Kids and The Motherhood. These amazing folks have come up with a plan to Do Good across the country. Seven bloggers in eleven cities (7 x11 = 77, of course) will be hitting the streets to put smiles on as many faces as we can.

Our plan is to pass out some goodies and fun stuff to folks passing by. But that wasn’t enough for us – we set it up so as we surprise them with something nice, they can in turn surprise someone else. And hopefully the Doing Good will be catchy and those folks will pass it on. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. Sometimes a smile or a kind word can turn a person’s day completely around. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

But what may be surprising is you don’t have to be the person receiving the good deed for it to make a difference. I think that being the person who is giving the kindness is even more rewarding. Getting a treat is great, for sure. But giving one (or a whole bunch) is amazing. And I can’t wait to be amazed.

[Disclosure – bloggers will be compensated for their participation in Do Good Day, but that in no way diminishes the awesomeness of 77 Kids or The Motherhood, who put this all together]

We Have a Winner!


Well, it was pretty close – with almost everyone getting 16 correct. One person got 17 and one got 12. But then Allison came along and blew everyone away with 21 correct! So Allison – email me your address and give me a couple of days (I waited to get a couple things until I knew who won) to get it out to you.

Thanks to everyone who entered – you guys are great and to those of you who I didn’t know before – you all have a brand new reader. And Amy – the fact that you did it wrong the first time cracked me up, because I would totally do something like that.

So here goes:

1. I competed on a men’s sports team.

True. When I went to college, I joined the swim team as a diver. What I didn’t know was that there was no women’s team, only a women’s “club”. I found this out at my first meet – an invitational of seven teams – as I noticed I was the only girl getting suited up. Since there weren’t the maximum of male divers on the team, I was allowed to compete any time we had a meet with a school without a women’s club or team.

2. I attended three different colleges before graduating.

True. My first was a small private school, which my parents thought was very nice and peaceful and instead was a wild party. I lasted 2 years, but had to go. Next, I went tpo a branch campus of Penn State, with the intention of heading to main campus the next semester. This didn’t happen, since I had a boyfriend and wanted to stay nearby. I ended up at Pitt instead. And the boyfriend was an asshole and long gone before I even got to Pitt. This was the only time I ever made a decision based o a boyfriend. I still kick myself.

3. I speak fluent French.

Non. I took four years in high school and four semesters in college and I am still not even close to fluent. I spoke it well enough to make my way around Paris, and I got an A in a college course where you only spoke French and the tests were conversations. But still I was panicked every minute and never fluent. And now – forget it. I do remember a little and the sounds of Mme. West yelling “Fermez les bouches!” still rings in my ears.

4. I had a job showing photographs to pigeons.

True. I did an independent study in college on stimulus equivalence and I spent hours a day putting pigeons in a box and showing them a slide show. It was an awesome job.

5. I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket.

False. But I haven’t gotten one in a long time (knock on wood).

6. I have a photo on my desk of me and Barry Manilow.

I wish. I’m a borderline Fanilow, but all I have is a photo of me with a B-Man impersonator.

7. I once got a fishing hook through my nipple and had to have it cut out.

False (barely). I was fishing with friends and wearing a tiny black bikini trimmed in red and yellow. And somehow a feathered red and yellow lure ended up going right through my suit at nipple level. It cut me a little, but no real damage was done, except for the embarrassment of walking across campus with what looked like a stripper tassel on visitor’s day.

8. I did psychedelics as part of an experiment.

True. A good friend of mine was a philosophy major and a professor of his was very interested in the effects of psychedelics on spirituality (she used to go to Rainbow gatherings and study people), so we hung out with her for the day while she asked us questions about God and stuff.

9. I made out with Eddie Money.

False. But when I was a freshman, he did a show on campus and a girl on my hall did. And she was obviously expecting everyone to be impressed because he was famous, but instead we were grossed out because he was old and disgusting.

10. I won an ice cream eating contest.

False. I got second place in a no hands sundae eating contest (The girls ate and the guy partner could help by moving the dish around – this was some sort of sorority/fraternity charity thing), but only because the winners cheated. For some reason, there were costumes and my partner and I were dressed as 1930s gangsters.

11. I was second in my graduating class.


12. I got a leech on me while on acid and lost my shit.

False – this happened to a friend, though. I played with a highlighter and a black light while he took a panicked 2 hour shower.

13. I once got bitten by a big-ass monkey.

False. But it sounded like something that would happen to me though, didn’t it? I did get bitten by a big-ass snake once. It hurt and I grabbed the snake and threw it. It was BIG-ASS.

14. I started talking at 6 months.

True. And I haven’t shut up since. 60% of the time since then, I have been on the phone with Hedge.

15. I once shaved my head.

False. But I probably would have is the situation ever arose. I have never been afraid of doing weird thing with my hair. Once at a party a guy shaved a small piece from the base of my hair and used it to make a roach clip. I ended up with it and lost it years later at a Dead Show.

16. There are photos of me in a medical journal.

True – I was at eye and ear hospital for a routine exam and had some weird discoloration on my corneas. Eleventeen excited doctors and a jabillion questions later (have you ever been exposed to mercury? Have you ingested any heavy metals?) I was photographed and published.

17. I have a tattoo of Mickey Mouse.

False. I have no tattoos. But I do love Mickey. A few years back, I planned on a dancing bear tattoo, but never got it. Now, it would be my kids names. Only if I lose a bunch of weight will I get it.

18. I had to be escorted to my car after being racially harassed in a bar.

True. A psychopath came on to me and when I turned him down, started calling me a ni@@er-lover and screaming at me (I was there with a friend who is black) and threatening to follow me home and “fix my ass”.

19. My diving career ended when my friend threw me in a pile of broken glass.

True. We were partying in a friend’s room and throwing our beer bottles into a garbage can and missing. And when I leaned over the edge of the loft, a friend shoved me off and I landed foot down in the broken glass. It kept me out for the rest of the season. I left before the sext year started and didn’t bother joining at Pitt because while I was good for a small school, a state team would have laughed my ass right out of there.

20. I was mugged by a gang of teenagers.

True. The little fuckers (six of them) jumped a friend and me, physically assaulted us and stole our wallets. And then the fake-ass campus police came along, represented themselves as real police, chased tem off without doing anything to them, and then drove us home and treated us like shit because we had been drinking. I called up the police to complain and found out that they were kampus kops, and boy did I stir up some shit.

21. With 6 months to go, mr b and I decided to scrap the wedding plans and get married in Vegas.

False. I had a huge wedding. Mr b and I both have humongous families and had a big, crazy party of a wedding. I don’t even want to tell you how many guests we had.

22. I failed high school trigonometry.

False. How dumb do you think I am???? I got a D.

23. I once got a bowling ball stuck on my thumb for three hours.

True. I have big thumbs – what can I say? It took hours of maneuvering and lots of tools and oil to get it off. Then my thumb swelled to the size of a carp.

24. I once told a priest to suck it.

True. He was a dick.

25. I have traveled across the country to see the Grateful Dead.

False. But man, I wanted to. My parents would never had let me. . I went as far as Ohio and Virginia, because I could do that on the QT.

26. I have visible needle marks on my arms.

True. No – I was never a junkie, but I give blood as often as possible. And then years ago I worked for the blood bank and discovered platelet donation. One (large) needle in each arm for two hours. I did it once a week for many years. I still do it, but only about once a month or so. (PSA – look into it – it’s important. It takes 8 regular blood donations to get the platelets from one platelet donation, and it is needed. And despite the two needles, it doesn’t hurt. As a bonus, you get to watch a movie – without kids – and you lat in a comfortable recliner – it’s heaven)

27. I had a mullet.

True. I was in ninth grade. Though in those days, we didn’t call it a mullet, wer called it, “getting your ears cut out.”

28. My middle name is Michael.

False. It’s Marie. But I always liked Michael for a girl.

29. I was suspended from school several times.

True. I was a class clown and some teachers didn’t appreciate my humor. Also – once I drank myself into a tree on a ski trip.

30. I was once run over by a chariot.

True. During Greek Week. I ended up on crutches and the athletic trainer was pissed at me.

31. I have a platinum record.

True. I never said I recorded it. But I won a radio contest to be Gary Allen’s assistant for the day and they sent me a platinum record award with an engraved plaque just for me.

32. I am really good at canoeing.

True. I actually took a class in the dead of winter and the last thing you want to do is fall I the lake in winter, so I paid attention and learned. The first time mr b and I went together, he didn’t believe I was as good as I said until I blew him out of the water.

33. I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

False. What kind of person do you think I am? I wouldn’t kill someone just to watch them die. I had a good reason. And it was in Pittsburgh.

Girls’ Weekend


I got my “pay it forward” gift from magpie today and Holy Shit that girl is talented. It is the cutest little bag you ever saw and I expect that everyone who sees me with it will a) ask me where I got it and then cry when they find out they can’t get one, b) try to buy it from me and cry when I refuse and c) suffer near crippling envy. It is that cute! Of course now I feel really, really bad that I got absolutely no response whatsoever and can’t technically pay it forward. But since I went out immediately and got the fixins for my craft (fully expecting my huge audience of approximately six – two of whom do not have their own blog and can’t participate – to push and shove and fight their way to get in on it), I refuse to let my goods and talent (hahahahaHA) go to waste and I will be paying it back to magpie (even though my little cutest bag ever is WAY better than anything I will be creating). If my efforts at craftiness don’t completely fail, I may just randomly send some out to my fives of readers just for fun anyway.

If I sound a bit cheerier today, that would be because I am back in the office. Which is a totally ass-backwards way to be feeling about the office versus home, but damn did I need to get out of the house. Mr b and the boy are heading off to scout camp this weekend – also known as the Weekend of No Underwear on the Floor, Pee on the Toilet Seat, Dishes in the Living Room, or Generally Disgusting Boy Stuff. I plan on going home tonight and cleaning up the house as much as I can, then waking up early and taking my little house-wrecker the hell out so she can’t destroy it again. I fully intend to wear that child the hell out, so when we come home, we can watch a movie and hopefully one of us (her) will fall asleep early so the other one (me) can drink wine, read books and make my fabulous (heh) crafty goodness.

As I was packing up the boy’s bag last night, mr b made a passing mention of “watching our money” this weekend.

Let me translate that for you: “Since I am going to be at camp and will be cold and wet and muddy and surrounded by kids and unable to drink or watch a hockey game, be forced to clean up after myself and participate in corny fun, I feel that you should not spend any money.”

My response? “OK.”

And again, let me translate: “I spent a week and a half at Christmas with the kids all over me 24 hours a day, then followed it up with three straight days of trying to work a full eight hours while also fighting off a climbing child who really wants the computer right now and a drink of milk right now and a snack right now and let’s play the princess game right now, and I WANT POP! right now and let’s put eye-shadow on the dog right now. Please understand that I don’t want to spend the next three days doing the same, less the working, but with the added ‘girl’s day? Is it girl’s day? Can we go shopping? Let’s go to lunch! Where’s dad? Where’s brother? Let’s go shopping!’ So excuuuuse me if I want to escape this house for a while and have lunch or see a movie or go to the museum, because I work, too and I need a break, too and since I don’t have any backup this weekend, this IS my break, so suck it. PS. Cry me a river about the scouts driving you crazy and the not getting to watch TV and any other damned thing because no matter how bad it gets, you have NO IDEA how bad it gets. Take Sunday, for example, when I took down Christmas and you took three naps. And besides, we all know you two will come back, walk in, dump your bags and I’ll have a big mess on my hands. PPS. You are not the boss of me. PPPPS. Love you!”


It’s a girls’ weekend and I fully intend to enjoy it (and drink the entire bottle of viognier Rapunzel got me for Christmas). Anything good on your weekend agenda?