Kindness

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Connections, Gifts, Kindness, Travel | Posted on 01-01-2017

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Kindness. It is everywhere.

My mother and I traveled to the tiny town of Tlacolula, Mexico and experienced the hustle and bustle of the Sunday market, an open-aired market packed with coconuts, peppers, batteries, carrots, clothespins, papayas, shampoo, shoes, onions, chickens, hairbrushes–and people. It is a market where the villagers, rural people, and Zapotec women with their colorful aprons and ribbons woven in their braids, come into town to shop once a week.

With no Safeway or Home Depot or Walgreens, this is the place to purchase everyday necessities to the freshest produce, and everything in between. Shoppers fill their woven baskets, bargain, socialize, and eat freshly-made tortillas filled with meat and cilantro and crema from the food carts.

Amidst the crowd, a gentle man approached me. We talked for a bit in Spanish and guess what? He reached deep into the bag he was carrying to gift me two handfuls of pinon nuts that he grew from his tree.

I was so surprised by this gesture and gift. I instantly made a new friend 3,000 miles from home and will forever remember his kindness.

I took a selfie to show that amabilidad–kindness–is everywhere.

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.”
-Bob Kerrey

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

Full of Pep

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Attitude, Confidence, Encouragement, Kindness, Life, Little Story, School, Teaching | Posted on 20-04-2016

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When I was in seventh grade, our teacher gave us a fun assignment. We were to write our names on a piece of paper then pass it around the classroom. Each student was to anonymously write something nice about each person: a trait, a compliment, what you like about that person. As the papers circulated, kindness filled the pages.

It was a great exercise to express the good in everyone and boost confidence. I still remember one phrase written about me:

Full of pep.

pep: noun energy and high spirits; liveliness.

I ran across this picture of me when I was in the seventh grade. Curly hair in braids, a big smile, heart-shaped sunglasses perched on my head. This was taken on our seventh grade camping trip in Yosemite. The same trip where I dared the boys to see who could stand in the freezing-cold river the longest. (Full of grit!)

The girl in the forefront is the one who wrote “full of pep.” (After we got our papers returned, she had leaned across her desk and whispered to me I wrote that. I still remember beaming back.)

Those three words written oh-so-long-ago had an impact on me and still make me smile. I will always remember my friend’s kindness and friendship…and…her accurate assessment. Wink!

Thirty four years later and still full of pep, I now have a daughter in the seventh grade. I showed her this picture and she was like, “Mom, are look the same!”

Some things never change.

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

A photo posted by PeskyPippi (@peskypippi) on

American Gothic

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Love, Marriage, Memories, Parenting, Romance | Posted on 05-06-2013

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Today is my 20th wedding anniversary. Whoa!

When we vacationed in Hawaii recently, there was a little wedding chapel on the hotel premises. I chided my husband, “We should totally renew our vows!” He answered with, “I didn’t know our vows needed renewing.”

What a guy!

I thought it would be funny to take a picture of the two of us and morph it into the American Gothic painting. You know the Americana one with the farmer and his wife? They look a little weathered from work, domesticity, and life. I have to admit, sometimes after a long week and what not, we do kinda look like this! Work is draining. And domesticity gets a little much.

However. When we take a step back–like you do when examining an incredible piece of artwork–we are grateful for and blessed with the love, friendship, happiness, fun, and family that we have created in our 7,300 days of marriage. Whoa!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Celebrations, Friends, Holidays, Love | Posted on 14-02-2013

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May today be the day that you frolic naked in a field. And water the heart flowers with green watering cans.

Or whatever makes your heart sing.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

XO,
Pippi

oldtimevalentine

My Sweet Delphinium

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Grandmother, Memories, Relationships, Women | Posted on 25-09-2012

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We had a plan to meet up for a visit. My good friend, Irma, and I. Easy enough, she eats at 4:00 p.m.

Admittedly, I scheduled our visit like she was another appointment in my busy day. Get the kids to school, jog, conference calls, dentist appointment, and client meetings, then meet up with Irma. I was to visit my “adopted grandmother” at her senior living community. I drove like a maniac in traffic.

I arrived late. The white-haired crowd had already dispersed from dinner. Dishes were clattering, as the bussers wiped away dropped napkins, rolling peas and spilled iced tea.

A friendly woman, named Barbara, walked me to Irma’s apartment. Apparently, all of the residents know her. How can you resist Irma’s charming smile, funny stories, and kind words? The door was unlocked, as always. I knocked and called out, “Irma! It’s me!” I didn’t want to startle her.

She wasn’t there. Her place was quiet and tidy. Silk flower bouquets. Hummel figurines. A loud ticking clock, marking the seconds. An afghan to cover cold legs.

I left the chocolate chip cookies I had baked on the table, with the lace doily. “Oh, you sweet Darling. You always do such nice things for me,” I imagined her saying. I wanted to hug her frail, ninety-something-year-old shoulders. And see her twinkly eyes and her dangly earrings. The pair I gave her a decade ago. Now, far too heavy for her drooping lobes.

Where was she?

She always showered me with encouraging, complimentary words. I needed my “Irma fix.”

I navigated the maze hallway, down the elevator, and outside to her raised bed garden. In the hopes that she would be tending her delphiniums. At that same moment, Irma was meandering the maze hallway, up the elevator, looking for me.

The delphiniums were a lovely shade of periwinkle blue–though a bit weathered through the heat of summer–and were staked up. With the hopes to stay strong and perky another month. Hopeful.

Circling. Searching. I must have passed the white-haired trio of women sitting on the bench gabbing and enjoying the evening air, four times. They gave me a perplexed look.

An hour later after I had left and was driving down the freeway, Irma called me with her sunshiny voice, “Hello, Dear! I am so sorry. I took a walk and checked my flowers and got caught up talking to one of my friends.”

Of course she did. That is just so Irma.

I smiled, “It’s OK. It was my fault for being late.” (And I mentally kicked myself.) “Let’s plan another visit in a few weeks.”

And I knew that when I said that, that I had better prioritize Irma in my over scheduled life.

Because friends should not be treated like appointments. And Irma, much like her beautiful delphiniums, will not last forever.

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How Many Friends Do You Need?

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Friends, Women | Posted on 30-08-2012

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I often wonder if I have enough friends. Enough of a support network. Enough pals to pal around with. Enough people to share stories with. Enough friends to connect with.

Yeah, I’ve got friends. Friends I knew since I was in school. Soccer friends. Family friends. Parents of my kids’ friends. Family. Facebook friends. Twitter friends. Neighbor friends.

But there are few friends that I can really talk to. About real stuff. When you need someone to listen. To be supportive. To share.

The other day, one of my friends and I hung out while our kids played, giving us lots of time to talk. Really talk. About raising our kids. About our spouses. About weight. About juggling and balance. About problems and challenges. About life.

It made me think, how many friends do you need?

Sometimes you just need one.

Here is one of my all-time favorite songs (I know this is not the original, but it’s the one I know):

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Daughters, Friends, Humor | Posted on 14-05-2012

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Why can’t we be friends? Well, I tried. But she was a bitch.

Here is how it went down.

My daughter met a friendly girl in her third-grade class. Annie* was another turquoise-leggings-wearing child with a quirky sense of humor. Oh goody, a new friend for my daughter! My daughter got Annie’s number and plans were soon made for a play date.

A few days later, I called Annie’s mother, Nancy.*

*All names changed because, well, there’s always the awkward P.T.A. run-in.

Nancy and I clicked! She was so nice. We were the same age. We swapped stories. There was laughter. We were both mothers, juggling work and activities. Oh goody, I may have found a new friend too!

We scheduled the girls’ play date for a few days later. Annie and her mother came over and I invited them in and gave them a tour of our home. The girls giggled and ran upstairs and instantly began organizing a puppet show.

Then, Nancy handed me an AdvoCare sample. And that’s when all the trouble began.

Turns out she is an AdvoCare distributor. AdvoCare is all about energy-boosting supplements and vitamins to give you more energy, lose weight, and “improve your performance.” I later learned that Nancy is pretty famous infamous in our neck of the woods. A power seller. And she is infamously annoying too.

The AdvoCare sample, called “Spark,” was a berry supplement to boost one’s energy. I took the sample, thanked her, and promptly tossed it into my kitchen junk drawer.

This little packet had a life “spark” of its own.

Back to the play date. There were puppet shows, dress-up, a stuffed animal parade. drawing, Kung Fu Panda. Popcorn, chocolate pudding, sliced apples. The girls laughed and shrieked. A great play date.

When Nancy picked up her daughter several hours later, she asked me again, “So are you going to try the energy sample? Just add it to your morning smoothie. You’re gonna have so much energy! You’ll feel great! I do!” Lots of smiles of encouragement.

“Yeah, I’ll try it,” I lied. I had no intention of adding this packet to my morning smoothie.

  • Stubborn? Maybe. “I am NOT taking HER supplement,” I thought.
  • Righteous? Maybe. “I don’t want fake-sugar, red powder in MY smoothie.”

The next day, I get a call from Nancy. Oh goody, I thought, she’s calling to schedule another play date for the girls since they had so much fun. Uh no.

Nancy: “Have you tried the AdvoCare sample?”
Me: “Not yet.”
Nancy: “Are you planning to?”
Me being wimpy: “Yeah, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Soooo, do you want to get the girls together sometime next week?”
Nancy: “Sure. Your daughter can come to our house after school on Wednesday.”

It’s a plan. The very next day, I get another call.
Nancy: “I’m hosting an AdvoCare party and would love you to come. It’s on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.”
Me (cringing and lying): “Oh that sounds fun but I can’t. Maybe another time.”
Nancy: “Well, I’m having another AdvoCare party the following week. Can you make that work?”
Me (feeling put-on-the-spot, I wimped out, but was getting mad): “I’ll check and get back to you.” Then I hung up. “What is her DEAL?!” I thought.

Her deal is that she is making her money off of selling AdvoCare and the way she does it is by hosting parties. “What is MY deal?!” I thought, “Why don’t I just tell her no?”

I hate going to fake parties. “Fake parties” where you’re supposed to mingle, hear the presentation, and buy whatever is being sold. Candles that smell like candy canes, potpourri that smells like peaches, make-up that makes you break out, and AdvoCare supplements and vitamins that give you oh-so-much-energy. And you feel forced to buy something because the hostess is a friend of your friend. And you don’t want to be cheap. So you try to mingle. You drink a glass of white wine and eat the Triscuits and wonder why there isn’t more to eat. After all, you’re buying a candle for twenty freaking dollars. Shouldn’t that warrant some good cheese? Or some seven-layer-bean-dip?

I appreciate that these entrepreneurs are taking action to make money, with a flexible schedule, that enables them to stay home with their children. But I don’t appreciate when the selling turns to selling-by-force. It’s manipulative and annoying.

A few days passed–before the second play date–Nancy called me again.

Nancy (persistent): “So, can you come to my party?”

Me (getting a little ballsy): “No, I’m not really into going to those types of parties.”

Nancy: “I’d be happy to schedule a conference call with you to tell you all about AdvoCare.”

Me (A freaking conference call?? Finally, I’ve had it.): “You know what? I’m not into AdvoCare. I have plenty of vitamins and supplements. I don’t need any more.”

Nancy: “But I think you should hear more about AdvoCare. It’s really a great product.”

Me: “I don’t mean this to be awkward but…” (And you know by saying that, it’s going to be awkward) “I feel like you’re pressuring me to buy AdvoCare whenever you talk to me. And I don’t think that’s cool. I mean, I’m glad that our daughters are friends, but I won’t be buying any AdvoCare. Ever. So please stop asking me.”

There. I said it. Totally awkward.

Nancy: “Um, OK.” She sounded weird. And that was the last time I heard from her. Second play date? Never happened.

And THAT is why we can’t be friends. Um, Nancy, don’t use your daughter as a way to sell your products. That’s just awkward. And when the mothers say no, don’t pull mean tricks and ruin sweet, childhood friendships. That’s just mean.

I haven’t spoken to Nancy since. But I do see her gold Honda Odyssey around town, with a ginormous AdvoCare window cling on the back. And now that I can see her coming from a mile away, I get the SPARK out of there!

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How Much Do You Think I Paid For This? (Guess High)

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Friends, Life Lessons, Relationships | Posted on 27-03-2012

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You like the high guessers.

You know when you buy something that’s a really good deal and you say to your friend, “Guess how much this shirt was?”

And you want your friend to say, “Hmm. $100?”

You say, “Less.”

She says, “$80?”

You say, “Less.”

Until finally, you break the wonderful news…you scored the shirt for $8!

See? High guessing reinforces what a smart shopper you are! And shows what a good friend you have for validating you.

So the other day, I tell my nine-year-daughter when she’s opening a can of fruit cocktail to be careful because those lids are sharp and you can cut yourself. I showed her the scar on my thumb from opening a can of beans. I told her that it bled for hours (indeed, it did….skin was flapping…I could feel my heartbeat in my thumb…yikes!)

She asks “How much blood did you lose? 30 percent?”

Ah, I LOVE this child. She’s a high guesser. SHE will do well in life being a good friend.

The Importance of Facetime with Friends

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Connections, Facebook, Friends, Girlfriends | Posted on 03-11-2011

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In the past two days, I have been fortunate to meet up with two very good friends. And there were no kids in tow, imagine that.

One was over beer and appetizers yesterday after work. I like to say “apps” because, well, that sounds so much cooler. I have to admit, it’s been a long time since I went to happy hour with a girlfriend. I liked it and want to go again. Soon.

The second was a nice lunch today. In the middle of a busy work day. I took time out to meet up with a good friend I knew in high school. We lost touch and Facebook helped us reconnect again. Lots of good conversations, laughs, and silliness.

I do love Facebook for connecting with friends. You have little one-liner conversations with lots of different friends. But it’s sporadic. And Twitter is growing on me. It’s even crazier than Facebook. You’re Tweeting with people you don’t even know, but kinda want to get to know. Phone calls with friends rarely happen. I’m on the phone a lot for work. And evenings are pretty much shot. But if you do call me, call me after 10:00 p.m. and don’t be pissed if I fold laundry while I talk with you. 🙂

But it’s the face-to-face connections with friends that are so wonderful. And for me, these connections happen so infrequently. I’m always encouraging the kids to make new friends, have friends over, etc. But I need to listen to myself. It’s not “finding the time,” because who the hell has any extra time? It’s prioritizing what is important. I am now reprioritizing and reaching out to friends, in order to connect and reconnect in a more meaningful way.

Because that, my friend, is what life is all about.