Tag Archives: CBC

Day 731: Fighting the good fight

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You might notice my last post here was in May.

My life took an unexpected turn in May. My sister got very ill. Then, my brother needed emergency lung surgery. And a few weeks after that, my dad had a stroke and my husband and I spent the summer overseeing his care, packing up his house and moving him from his town two hours away to Toronto, to be closer to us.

Oh and I fractured my wrist out of sheer folly and carelessness.

Not only did I have no time to blog about good deeds, I didn’t much feel like doing them. It felt like there was some kind of dark cloud hovering over our family and around every corner was more bad news and road blocks and frustrations.

Did I rise to the occasion and feel appreciative of the small miracles of life and more loving toward my fellow humans? I’m ashamed to say, no. Quite the opposite.

Being sleep deprived and wracked with worry made me short tempered and selfish and resentful. “Why me?” “Why now?” “When do I get my life back??”

Tough times can bring out the best in people, draw out admirable qualities and virtues they never knew they had. You read about average Janes and Joes in the World Trade Center on 9/11 who didn’t hesitate to put others first when it really mattered and rose to the challenge of trying to save as many people as they could.

Or just today, I heard an interview on CBC radio that brought me to tears, about a man in New York who — without hesitating for a second, and at risk to his own health — donated his stem cells to a complete stranger in Toronto who suffered from leukemia.

And here I was complaining about having to trek two hours to Cambridge, Ontario, every Friday after work to pack up my dad’s house and make arrangements for his care.

Very humbling, folks. And a good reminder to me of why I started this blog in the first place.

Because I’m not one of those noble, truly selfless people I mentioned above. I’m usually too stuck in my own head and preoccupied with my own comfort to automatically put the well-being of others before my own. To spontaneously lend a hand. Offer a shoulder. Look a stranger in the eye and smile.

My family isn’t out of the woods yet but I felt like sharing this today after I watched the video above. Not sure why it touched me so deeply but it cracked open a box of worries and regrets and new resolve that hopefully means I can keep fighting the good fight.

It struck me that even though I may not be made of heroic stuff, I can certainly keep trying to be better. Kinder. Even if it’s just in small, simple ways. Doing things from a place of love. For I do believe that’s what we’re here for.

Here’s hoping writing it down like this will help me stick to it. One good deed at a time.

p.s.

In my absence, I missed this really cool project that Patrick shared on my “About Me” page, called the Good Mojo Project. Please do check it out!:

What a fantastic blog and project you have. I wanted to share an idea I came up with called the Good Mojo Project. The idea of the Good Mojo Project is to give a flood of positive messages and posts to one person a day who needs a pick-me-up (like when it is your birthday on Facebook). With enough people buying-in, it would be an amazing experience to see all that support and good energy being directed towards them when they are having a hard time.
What do you think of this idea? Would you be open to sharing the page below and getting more people on board to send the messages?
https://www.facebook.com/GoodMojoProject/
Thanks for checking this out!
Patrick

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Day 691: Knitting us together


I posted earlier this week about how relaxing knitting can be. Then today at cbc.ca, I read this amazing story by Emily Fitzpatrick about an Edmonton grandmother who knitted 1,000 hats for the homeless this year. Aaaaand, today’s Google doodle is a cool knitting gif to celebrate the winter solstice (not sure how that relates, but whatevs).

Here’s the story about the Edmonton grandma… she’s inspired me to take some of the leftover wool I have and make something helpful with it (a toque seems beyond my skills at the moment but it’s worth a try, right?)

Screen shot 2013-12-21 at 12.14.48 PM
Jane Van Zyll Langhout, an 85-year-old grandmother, first learned to knit as a young girl in Holland, but when her husband passed away 25 years ago, she committed herself to her craft full time.

“It [got] really lonely, and then I started knitting. I did it for the neighbourhood mostly,” she said.

Now, she knits every day.

“I could almost do it with my eyes closed” she said. “Touques are easy to make … and the older I get the more I like to sit down.”

For the second year in a row, she is using her talent and passion to give back, donating 1,000 hand-knit touques to the Share the Warmth Campaign.

To prepare for this year’s donation, Van Zyll Langhout spent about eight hours every day knitting, usually completing three hats a day.

The campaign was first started by retired NAIT teacher Gordon Smith 10 years ago when he heard there was a need for socks in the homeless community.

Wanting to help, Smith asked around for donations.

“All of a sudden I got two or three pairs of socks. Then 50 pairs, then 500 pairs – and then all of a sudden I’m in the sock business,” he said.

Read rest HERE.

p.s. And me? Today I haven’t left the house because of the ice out there but yesterday I dropped off some soups and stews for the food bank drive in our office building and washed up other people’s dishes in our staff kitchen when no one was looking. Later, I snapped out of my iPod trance long enough to notice that a lady with a cane was slowly making her way towards the door of our building, and I was able to open it for her in time, which often only occurs to me after the fact, I’m afraid.

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Day 648: Whale of a good deed

Humpback whale photo: David Doubilet, NationalGeographic.com

Most of my good deeds have involved people, but I do try to be kind to animals, as well. I’ve fed, watered and walked the pets of friends and family members. Once, I even adopted a visiting pigeon I named Rusty (long story).

This may sound strange, but out of all creatures great and small, I’ve always felt a strong connection to whales, for some reason. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to see them in the wild a few times — even close enough to touch — an incredibly thrilling and life-affirming experience, can’t really explain it. I’m a water-bearer sign (Aquarius), so maybe I was a pod member in a former life.

So when I heard this story of an incredible act of kindness toward a whale on the radio this morning, I was moved to tears. I think you will be too.

It’s the tale of a group of divers who band together to try to free a whale trapped in a tangle of fishing line, crab traps and nets off the coast of California.

Let me know what you think!

P.S. Photo from HERE. Video from HERE. Story heard on CBC Radio Tapestry HERE. Original podcast found HERE.

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Day 257: Fly away

7147_bird_cartoonSorry this post is late, folks. I’ve been on an amazing seven-day road trip and have gotten out of synch with my timing.

Travelling offers lots of opportunities for good deeds, however (both the giving and receiving end), so I look forward to sharing those stories with you.

At the airport, for example, I came across a cellphone in a bathroom stall. (I think it’s safe to assume it was a woman’s phone — I was in the ladies’ room, after all!)

I thought about opening her address book, calling someone on her contacts list and telling them I had her phone, but I was about to get on a plane to a city far from home, so that didn’t seem practical. And what was that friend supposed to do? Call her?

I couldn’t come up with a better solution, so I walked over to the adjacent gate and turned it in to the airline employee. I asked him if there was somewhere else I should be taking it instead. But he assured me that, first, he’d make an announcement and if no one claimed it, he’d make sure it got to the lost and found.

Several times on that route, I dropped my scarf, one glove, then the other, and each time there was a kind soul who picked up each item and made sure I got them back. And in the sub-sub-zero temperatures we’ve been having lately, those were good deeds indeed.

And speaking of taking flight, here’s a lovely story I came across about a fine-feathered good deed. Enjoy!

Invisibility cloak

(From a story by Emily Chung/CBC)

For their school science fair project, most eight graders come up with erupting volcanoes or models of windmills. Ottawa’s Charlie Sobcov, however, invented painted, plastic decals that can be placed discreetly in the middle of a window pane.

“This paint is a colour that birds can see but humans can’t,” he told CBC Radio. “It’s like putting a big stop sign in the middle of the window.”


The colour is ultraviolet, beyond the range of colours visible to humans. That means the “stop sign” lets birds know the window is solid, but is nearly invisible to humans.


Similar flying falcon-shaped decals already exist on the windows of some buildings, but unlike Sobcov’s, they are black and can obstruct part of the window.


Sobcov, who studies at the Turnbull School, a private school in Ottawa, said he first fell in love with birds while on a trip with his parents to Costa Rica four years ago


He later read that about 500 million birds a year in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada were dying as a result of crashing into windows.


Sobcov resolved to help save the lives of some of those birds.

He started researching bird vision and found out that a bird’s eye view includes colours in the ultraviolet range.


After a search, he managed to find a company in Montreal that made fluorescent ultraviolet paint. The paint is used in the entertainment industry for things like “cosmic bowling,” to make lanes glow. In normal indoor lighting, the paint is invisible, but when ultraviolet “black lights” shine on it, it emits light of a different colour – within the range that people can see.


Sobcov has since posted a notice in the newspaper asking people to volunteer to help him test the decals, which can be easily peeled off and reused on a different window or a different part of the same window.


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