Day 715: Poetry in motion

I don’t know if you’d call this a story or a poem or a recollection, but I call it beautiful. Enjoy!

Mamool cookies.

Mamool cookies.


Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal

–by Naomi Shihab Nye, posted Apr 26, 2007

After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.”

Well — one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. “Help,” said the flight service person. “Talk to her. What is her problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she did this.”

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. “Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, Sho bit se-wee?”

The minute she heard any words she knew — however poorly used — she stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the following day. I said “No, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late.  Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.”

We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and would ride next to her — SouthWest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out, of course, that they had ten shared friends!

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering questions.

Soon after, she pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies — little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts — out of her bag and was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California, the lovely woman from Laredo — we were all covered with the same
powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free (non-alcoholic) beverages from huge coolers and the two little girls for our flight — one African
American, one Mexican American — ran around serving us all Apple Juice and Lemonade.  And they were covered with powdered sugar too.

I noticed that my new best friend — by now we were holding hands — had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Ah, an old country traveling tradition: always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, “This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.”

Not a single person in this gate — once the cries of confusion stopped — was apprehensive about any other person.

They took to the cookies. I felt like hugging everyone else.

This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost.

More lovely stories like these at:


And what did I do today?

Well we had a work competition to see which team could bring in the most donations for the Daily Bread Food Bank… at 5 p.m. yesterday I noticed our team’s bin was empty. Instant Food Bank Bin Shame. So I sent out an alert to my equally shameful team, then hit the grocery store. I got as much food as I could physically carry. (Actually it was more than I could physically carry, Betty White has stronger arms than I do.) Our team didn’t win but, then again, of course we did.

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Day 714: Must see — this will make your day!

*Warning* Watch on a day you’re not wearing mascara!

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Day 713: Beard for Nepal

BeardA colleague of mine is making a very personal sacrifice to raise funds for the Nepal Disaster Relief effort.

He’s planning to shave off his beard — 17 months in the making — if he reaches his fundraising goal of $500.

To paraphrase John 15:13:
“Greater love hath no man than this: to lay down his beard for Nepal.”

And now in an interesting plot twist, an anonymous $500 donation has been made internally at the office to allow The Beard to stay.

Which one do you think I donated to? :)

Here’s his funding page in case anyone’s interested in contributing (the Canadian government will match all funds donated until May 25, 2015.



The disaster in Nepal is incredibly heartbreaking worldwide. 2 major earthquakes in less than 3 weeks has affected millions, displaced people from their homes, and injured or taken the lives of thouands.

I’ve been growing my beard for 17 months now, and am even affectionately(i hope) known as The Beard around work. There was a time not too long ago I thought I could never live without my beard, but I admit now that seems foolish. With so many people in Nepal having to face life without homes and loved ones and the life they once knew, living without my beard, something that grows back easily, feels like a selfish thought.

Near the end of May I will be cutting my beard off and hope to raise funds for The Red Cross to help those in Nepal by doing so. If you feel inclined, I would very much appreciate a donation. I have set a goal of $500 but regardless of whether I make that amount or not, ever dollar counts and I thank you for considering it.

Even if you don’t donate to this campaign, I truly hope you read about the devastation in Nepal and do whatever you can to help out.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”- Charles Dickens

You can donate here.

Song for the day… seemed only appropriate. :)

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Day 712: Do the right thing

Just read this story on Apartment Therapy (dangerously addictive site, btw :) ) and wanted to share… it’s heartwarming to find out that even in the face of great temptation, there are still honest people in this world.


 Pin it button big Reese Wekhoven (left) and Lara Russo (right) with the cash they found in their sofa. Photo via The Little Rebellion

Reese Wekhoven (left) and Lara Russo (right) with the cash they found in their sofa. Photo via The Little Rebellion

Most of us are lucky to find a few pennies, maybe a quarter in our couches, but three roommates at State University New York at New Paltz did much, much better. They decided to investigate why their 20 buck thrift store steal was making their movie marathons so lumpy, so they unzipped the cover and began pulling out bag after bag of cash — nearly $40,000.

As college kids, we’re sure they could have found plenty of ways to use the extra cash, but Reese Werkhoven, Lara Russo and Cally Guasti always knew they were going to do the right thing. They noticed a name on one of the envelopes and, with some research, located the women to whom the bounty belonged. Says Werkhoven, “It’s not our money, we didn’t have any right to it.”

The owner? A 91-year-old widow who’d spent 30 years stashing the money in her sofa, only to have her children donate it to the Salvation Army while she was recovering from a recent surgery.

And the happy ending for our three good samaritans? Besides the lifetime supply of good karma, they split a reward of $1000. Sounds like a win win to us.

Via Eyewitness News New York and The Little Rebellion

(Image credits: Shutterstock; The Little Rebellion)

Full story here.

(And apparently the original couch owner’s family had donated the couch to Goodwill because she’d been sleeping on it and they wanted to replace it with a new bed where she could recover from her surgery.)

And what was my good deed today? I helped a lady up some stairs and carried her Nexxus rollator/walker up for her. My mom has the same model so I knew how to fold it up but, man, those things are heavy. Thankfully a strong guy was around to help her when it was time to come down. :)

Song for today (warning: ear worm plus!), Do the Right Thing:

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Day 711: You’re never fully dressed without a smile

Not feeling 100% today… in fact, more like 62.3%… but I’m going to make an effort to smile more as I go through the day. *deep breath*

Watching this helps… sending it out to you!

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Day 710: Piano man

Remember Ryan Arcand, Edmonton’s “piano man”?

Well, great news … the woman who originally shot this video, used it to raise money to buy Ryan his own piano. And what’s more, his life has taken a turn for the better:

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 6.55.27 PM

On Friday afternoon, Ryan Arcand was doing what he usually does these days.

Playing piano.

He was in the lobby of Ambrose Place, a supportive-housing complex in Edmonton’s inner city, where he recently got his own apartment after years of living on the streets.

Around one o’clock, the front doors opened and two men came in, lugging long, heavy cardboard boxes.

They set them down and went back for more.

Curious, Arcand eyed the boxes.

“What the heck?” he said.

He got up and walked over to read the labels.

“It’s yours Ryan,” said Carola Cunningham, executive director of Niginan Housing Ventures, the non-profit group that runs Ambrose Place..

“It is?” He grinned. “Can I open it?”

Inside those boxes was a new Yamaha digital piano, a keyboard stand, some headphones.

Arcand seemed stunned. He looked at the camera. “Mom, if you’re listening, watching.” He turned and pointed at the boxes. “Look, mom. It’s me!”

Read full story HERE.

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Day 709: The kind leading the blind

Thought I’d share another heartwarming story I came across today.

Especially since there’s a crazy blizzard raging out there right now and a little kindness will certainly go a long way.

I think what struck me most about this photo is that the grocery clerk in the green apron isn’t even wearing a coat. Brrrrrrrr.

When I get home, I’ll try to do some shoveling for my neighbour… but knowing my true-blue husband, he’ll have already done that!


This photo of a Sobeys employee walking a 72-year-old customer home was posted to Facebook on Friday. (Terri Bordage Stevens/Facebook)

This photo of a Sobeys employee walking a 72-year-old customer home was posted to Facebook on Friday. (Terri Bordage Stevens/Facebook)

A photo of a Halifax grocery store clerk walking a 72-year-old customer home on icy sidewalks has gone viral.

The photo, taken by Terri Bordage Stevens, was posted to Facebook on Friday morning and has since accumulated more than 12,000 likes and almost 5,000 shares.

“I was driving in Halifax by Sobeys Queen Street and made my friend slow down so I could snap this wonderful picture,” Bordage Stevens wrote in the Facebook post. “Now that’s putting your customer first.”

The picture shows Sobeys employee Austin MacNeill helping Mary Cogswell, who is legally blind, navigate the icy sidewalks on Queen Street in the city’s south end.
Mary Cogswell

Mary Cogswell, who is legally blind, says the Sobeys' staff have helped walk her home for about five years. (Photo: CBC)

Mary Cogswell, who is legally blind, says the Sobeys’ staff have helped walk her home for about five years. (Photo: CBC)

Mary Cogswell, who is legally blind, says the staff at the Queen Street Sobeys in Halifax have helped walk her home for about five years. (CBC)

Cogswell said employees at Sobeys have been helping her get her groceries home for about five years, regardless of the season.

“They always do that at Sobeys, whoever takes me around there. They walk me home,” she said.

Read the whole story HERE.

Song for the day: George Ezra, “Listen to the Man.” Love this young Brit’s voice.

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