Color Me Rosy

give your attitude a high-five

A Good Deed Here, A Good Deed There...

Some people hit the high seas and go on a cruise for vacation.  Others road trip across multiple states or fly across the country looking for their next adventure.  Me?  I drive the 2.5 hours to Cedar City and mingle with the small town, home grown folks inhabiting Southern Utah.  It's okay to roll your eyes.  I do.  Or at least I used to.  

There is a "must do" list I have for whenever I am in Southern Utah.  Brad's Food Hut is at the top of that list.  It's greasy, deep fried, saturated-in-anything-that-might-cause-a-coronary deliciousness.  My mother, the nutritionist, will deny it if asked but might possibly be having a small love affair with their fish'n'chips and dirty Dr. Pepper.  It's that good, y'all.  Anyway, I was sitting in the drive-thru after having ordered when one of the girls working comes to get my payment.  The total: $23.48.  When she returned with my card and the receipt, I checked out the amount paid and had to double check the numbers staring me back in the face.  $8.48.  As if reading my mind, the girl at my window explained the difference, "The lady in the car ahead of you comes in once a week and pays an extra $15 for the car behind her," before hurrying back inside.  The mysterious woman who paid for more than half of my order was gone and I didn't know who to thank.  For once, I was speechless.  I've heard of this kind of thing happening but never has it happened to me.  I couldn't believe it.

I'm not entirely sure why I happened to be the recipient of good deeds on my last trip home, but the occurrence at Brad's wasn't the only one.  My grandmother woke one morning having a major craving for pancakes.  I've tried to get a handle on my culinary handicap but have yet to master the pancake flip.  I wasn't about to attempt it, especially since my grandma wanted them so much.  The solution to my problem came in the form of IHOP.  You want pancakes?  Why not go to the International House of, right?  

I have a daughter.  She has this condition known as "three years old".  Most things she does are unpredictable.  But there are some that roll around like clockwork and most of these things involve the bathroom.  We get in the car and she suddenly needs to go.  We sit down in a restaurant and she can't possibly hold it any longer.  That morning, at IHOP, was one of those instances.  We deserted our booth and rushed to the bathroom.  Business done, we returned to find what appeared to be a hastily written note and a 5 dollar bill in the middle of our table.  "We noticed you had kids and remember how expensive it can be to feed them.  Hope this helps."  In between wondering how loud my kids had to be for someone to notice they were in the building and looking around for a clue as to who left the note and money, I was touched.  This was random act of kindness number two in the span of a few days.  

A week that I expected to be unremarkable has changed my outlook on life and people.  I am ashamed to admit that I get a little frustrated with the lack of compassion in the world.  I know there are great people out there.  I read and hear about amazing stories of service and selfless charity, but often times the negative overshadows the positive and I forget that maybe there is a little hope in the world.  Maybe, just maybe, there are people who really do care about the big picture.  It's nice to be reminded and an ordinary trip to Cedar City, Utah, has definitely brought a little spark into my life.  To top it off, I probably won't be rolling my eyes the next time my mother requests us home for a visit.  

Naked for a Cause?

The film Calendar Girls starring Helen Mirren is one of those movies that I've watched and laughed over a few times, mostly with my grandmother.  It's rare that I find someone my age who has seen the film, although it is only about ten years old.  The plot is based on a true story, one that is peppered with equal parts heartache and humor - a combination that leaves you feeling emotionally raw.  When a friend's husband passes at a young age from leukemia, a woman sets out to raise money in order to purchase a new couch for the hospital waiting room by...becoming a calendar girl.  This seriously happened, guys.  A group of women created a nude calendar to raise money for leukemia research.  And it poses the question:  Would you?  I wouldn't.  Couldn't.  But these ladies did and it worked.  

The word leukemia makes my blood run a little cold.  Having lost someone very close to me to the disease, I applaud the efforts of these women.  But like I said, I don't think I could do it.  Donating money is so much easier.  Requires very little effort.  And I'm ashamed to admit that the realm of my charitable donations fall into a hollow money giving category.  I'm aware that money goes a long way and any form of donation is great, but I also know that becoming actively involved leaves an impact far more lasting.  I'm not here to encourage stripping down to raise money.  I am, however, in favor of finding that cause that matters to you, the one that keeps you awake at night, and then doing something about it.  Actively participating will leave you with a memory, a warm and fuzzy, and the lasting knowledge that you were a part of something far bigger than yourself.  Not only will it matter to someone else but it will matter to you.  

Also, watch the movie.  It's great.  And tastefully done.  It's only rated PG-13.  I'd insert the trailer but I don't want to make anyone (Brandon) blush.

Try New Things

Back to school (I'm a closet nerd), sweaters, boots, football, changing colors, season premiers, and crisp Autumn air are some of my favorite things.  We're fast approaching my favorite time of year and despite living in a city that doesn't change much with the seasons, I'm a little excited.  I can't wait to bust out the boots, shop for new jackets and sweaters, or watch the UNLV Rebels maybe win a football game (it could happen, guys).  Imagine the fiercest eye-roll ever and you've got my mother in every conversation in regard to my enthusiasm for the coming months.  Take that eye-roll and combine it with a "you're an idiot" and you've got my brother in every conversation.  And they wonder why I'm an introvert.  Kidding.  

My great-grandmother used to tell me that the sweetest things in our lives might taste a little bitter to someone else (I spent half my life under the impression that's what "bitter-sweet" meant).  Go out and find the things in life that are sweet to you.  Not everyone is going to get on board but bandwagons can get a little crowded.  Try new things.  Discover yourself a little more.  Keep a positive outlook and remember the good in your life.  Sometimes the cloudiest of skies produce the most beautiful rainbows.  Maybe even an intense double rainbow.  All the way across the sky.  I don't know what it means, guys.

If a little shove is needed, I've compiled a list to help get your feet wet:

1.  Cook a five course meal.  Take the time, turn on a little music, and become one with your kitchen.  If you're culinary capabilities are lacking, then take a cooking class.  You might find that you really enjoy it and chances are you'll meet new people.

2.  Plant a tree.  This one might be difficult, especially depending on where you live, but there are a ton of resources on the internet to help you along the way.  

3.  Go to an arts festival.  The sidewalk art is my favorite.  Seriously, check it out.  

4.  Take a class.  Okay, so above I mentioned a cooking class.  Still recommending it.  But there are other classes you can take.  Check out the classes offered through local rec centers, colleges/universities, craft stores, etc.  Pretty much anything and everything will be covered at one point or another so it's likely you will find something to peak your interest.

5.  Learn how to make balloon animals.  It's random and connects you with your inner child, and if you have kids, they'll love it.

6.  Learn to golf.  Go to anger management.  I think they go hand in hand.

7.  Karaoke.  Maybe start at home with close friends before displaying the vocals in public.

8.  Start watching a new TV show or movie marathon.  We all deserve to be a little lazy every once in a while.  Indulge.  Put on your comfy sweats, grab your favorite goodies, shut the blinds, and enjoy the cinematic arts.  

9.  Go picking.  As in buying and selling stuff.  I just did this one.  My latest purchase: a vintage typewriter.  Doesn't work but you better believe I'm gonna paint that sucker turquoise and use it as a decoration.  

10.  Go to the beach and...learn to surf, build a massive sand castle, swim with dolphins, go metal detecting, wear sunscreen, and try not to get too much sand in your, you know.  Play a little beach volleyball.  Work out those glutes.  Stop and enjoy the sunset.  Look at all the fun things you can do at the beach.  No brainer.

Remember to keep an optimistic attitude.  It's contagious, after all, and no one is forcing you to have fun.  Let go a little.  Earn those laugh lines.  I'm willing to bet that eventually you will be surprised and discover a new layer of your personality.  And being active about enjoying it, giving yourself something to look forward to, is special.  Even if it is just the first fallen leaf of the season.

Small Town Generosity

In the town of Beaver, Utah, there is a little sandwich shoppe.  Good food, cute decor, and that small town, home grown quality that makes customers feel at ease and welcome.  Beaver is about 45 minutes away from my home town so I was able to stop in and enjoy a fresh cut sandwich from Patti’s Place.

A handful of items filled the menu, a few tiny tables filled the room, and witnessing a good deed nearly had tears filling my eyes.  I’m not an emotional person.  I keep things pretty well tapped down.  But for some reason, the atmosphere in Patti’s Place is special.

A local gentleman stopped in for a bite.  I don’t know his name.  I don’t know his story.  But for this, it doesn’t really matter.  He ordered and reached in his pocket to pay.  They brushed his attempt aside and gave him his meal “on the house”.  From my seat near the back of the room, I watched this interaction with a lump in my throat.

I’m not sure if this happens often or the reasons behind such an act, but I do know that whoever Patti is, well, she deserves a pat on the back.