Day 717: #25000 Tuques


Sometimes Facebook is awesome. I just saw a link to this CBC story on a Quebecer named Danielle Létourneau who is using FB to organize a knitting campaign to help give Syrian refugees to Canada a warm welcome — literally.

knitting-for-syrian-refugeessmallThrough her FB page, 25000 Tuques, knitters across the province (and now beyond) are stitching together tuques to give to newcomers and including a personal note of welcome in each one.

I love how Danielle describes her project on her bilingual site:

25 000 Tuques is about creating a tuque for distribution to the refugees with a small, personalized welcome message slipped inside by the « knitter ».

Yes, it’s pretty symbolic and It’s based on when we put a tuque on a new born baby but it’s also because we want a better fabric for our society, one that is tightly knitted together… No it does not exempt you from taking other actions. It’s our very own small way of welcoming them and make a direct and humane connection.

Knitting helps; it help us feel a bit less powerless and it helps keep someone warm. Our knitting, our time, our attention is a concrete gesture that trumps all petitions.

It’s humble but it gives us the time to talk, to think and to love a bit better.

It takes two hours to knit a simple tuques with average size knitting needles. Two hours spread apart between whenever you have the time; in the metro, in the house… At that rhythm we will not flood Quebec with tuques: It takes two hours to help welcome someone. The way I see it, and I don’t know what you think of it, it’s already so much better than doing nothing.

Watch this map for drop-off centres to be added.

I’ve never knitted a tuque before but I’m going to give it a go!

A great song to knit by:

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Day 716: Sleep walking

Sleep, glorious sleep. You don’t truly appreciate it until it escapes your grasp.

I fell and broke my wrist back on September 25 (I’ll always remember the date because it’s my wedding anniversary), and I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since.

And I am not a Margaret Thatcher type who only needs 4-5 hours of shut-eye. I function best on at least 9 hours. I wish that weren’t the case. Those are lots of hours to be lying unconscious in the dark … if I’m lucky, that is.

That’s like, a full work day! My brain needs a full shift at the dream factory — with overtime — just to be able to string a sentence together come morning.

Why am I sharing this? Because I realized this morning that the dark emotions I’ve been feeling lately aren’t tied to life events at all, but that I’m just tired… hence grouchy and not fun to be around. (Just ask my husband.)

The alarm went off this morning by mistake (a morning when I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn) and I had a mild meltdown, feeling ripped off because I had finally gotten to sleep at 5 a.m. after being up twice earlier with an achey, uncomfortable arm and mind spinning with dark thoughts.

But then the radio informed me that it was 15 C this morning, going down to 8 C this afternoon. That’s practically beach weather in the Great White North! I used to be a big walker but have been so afraid of falling again that I’ve done as little as possible lately. But 15 C??? Action needed to be taken. So I pulled on some clothes and raced outside for a half-hour walk.

If that rude alarm hadn’t gone off, I might not have been up before the temperature plunged, I realized. About half-way down the block, I looked up to the black clouds overhead and said a silent prayer of thanks for the opportunity to feel the warm breeze on my face so late in November.

And — I’m not making this up — I suddenly felt this warmth behind me and looked back and saw the sun had burst through the clouds to shine a blazing, warm ray of sunshine on me. I burst into tears. It felt like God was saying, “I’ve got your back, kid, hang in there.”

Sounds crazy, right? Crazy beautiful to me.

It helped remind me that the pain I was still feeling in my wrist and hand was so puny in the grand scheme of things.

In fact, moments before my fall — on a busy city street amid a throng of Toronto Blue Jays fans — a thought overtook my brain that said, “Slow down. Things can change in an instant.” So I did slow down. And when I got to the curb and started crossing the street, a huge black SUV came screeching around the corner, almost wiping out a whole group of us.

I did fall right after that but I realized almost immediately that if I hadn’t slowed down moments before, things could’ve turned out so much worse.

A good deed I’ve been meaning to share ever since was the kind lady who bent down beside me right after I fell and asked if I’d like her to get some ice from the restaurant behind us. And she did. She came back with a big white cloth napkin full of ice, which was a godsend when the shock started to wear off and the pain in my wrist set in.

I hope I never forget that and if I see someone in a similar situation, I’ll at least know one way I can possibly help.

Okay, enough rambling, lol… my vow is to keep sharing the good deeds of others (while continuing to do what I can)… oh, and to find a way to get some zzzz’s… and be less grouchy. :)

Thanks for listening. Have a lovely day!

Here’s a lovely song for you (it’s in Spanish, called “Glorious”).


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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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