One of my least favorite days of the year is Black Friday. I abhor shopping on that day. This year there is an art bazaar that I would like to go to in order to support local artists. If I happen to be in downtown Portland, our local boutiques and small businesses participate in Little Boxes, a way for the community to support local businesses. That would be the only adventure I would have with shopping. Even having said that, I still do not have any interest.
I do not understand the desire for stores to be open (and for folks to be out shopping) on Thanksgiving Day. Why oh why? Our nearby outlet mall will be open from 6 pm to midnight on Thursday, November 27, and then is open from midnight to 10 pm on Friday, November 28. Which basically means they will be open from 6 pm on Thursday to 10 pm on Friday. WHY?
This is why I loved hearing about “RAK Friday” (Random Act of Kindness Friday) intended for Black Friday. Friends started a Facebook page and also has their three kids in on the action. What a wonderful idea to think about celebrating Thanksgiving as a day of gratitude and rolling into Black Friday doing things for others, instead of buying “things.” What if we were able to change Black Friday into RAK Friday? What a difference it would make in this world of consumerism and commercial spending.
So here is my question for you, what should I do on RAK Friday here in Portland? And, for those of you that might be reading this while waiting in line at the mall, what RAK are you going to do for someone today?
I have lived in Oregon for almost 11 years and I have a confession to make. I did not know our state motto until last week while reading: “Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them” by Issac Fitzgerald. I know shocking. I love my state. I love Oregon, Portland, and my little neighborhood. Our state motto though is downright badass. It is: Alis volat propriis in Latin, which translates to: she flies with her own wings. It means she is free, independent, strong. What is not to love about that state motto?
It does not say “he” it says “she” – after a quick Internet search I could not find a single other state that has a motto with “she.” Many had “he” or “we,” but no other “she.” An Internet search for Alis volat propriis also returns a zillion tattoos with the Latin version displayed on a plethora of body parts. While I do not like to be a follower, it is an intriguing option that might just get added to my short “I’d get that tattoo list.” Why does this saying tick for me? Why does it resonate so strongly? Many reasons.
I grew up fast. At the age of twelve, my mom was sick, and my dad was mostly out of the picture. I had to figure out a lot of things in my own way and fast. What does that do to a kid’s development? There could be a lot of differing answers. For me it meant I learned early to do my own thing. I did not like to do what everyone else was doing. I charted my own journey. No one was looking out for me, and I had to make sure that I looked out for myself. I flew with my own wings and I still do.
That is with Chris flying beside me.
Whether you are a man or a woman, fly with your own wings. Speak out with your voice. Be strong, independent and free. It might be my state motto, but it has also been my unwritten motto all these years.
For any of you that are on Facebook you will know that your feed this past week has been filled with friends and family who are raising awareness for ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The focus: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It is a great way to use social media for a good cause. However (yes there is a but), my hope is that all the individuals that are doing the ice bucket challenge actually donate money. The awareness campaign is that by having ice + cold water poured over you that you are outing yourself from paying $100. Individuals that get nominated have 24 hours to do the challenge or donate $100.
Awareness is great, supporting ALS financially takes it to an entirely different level. What if we took the time to raise awareness, and put our money and/or our support next?
I love the fun and humor of making a video and putting oneself out there online, I only hope it does good. Think of all the other initiatives and programs that could benefit from such challenges. Of course we’d all be broke, and it would get old, right? How do we keep the freshness on continuing the momentum via social media where we have access to so many people, yet do it in a way that promotes true awareness? For example, the ALS website has been shared in most of the videos that I have seen, and there has been a plethora of high-profile athletes, CEOs, and past presidents that have joined into the mix, but have we really learned more about ALS? Do you know what it stands for? Do you know how your money can help?
Be careful, I might go Laura Bush on you and decide that I do not want to mess up my hair and just donate the $100. However, it is hot here in Oregon, and a little cold does the body good.
Summer. While in some ways it is still in full force — warm weather and sunny days — it is also on its way out. My company has half day Fridays during the summer and we only have 3 left for this year. Somehow that makes me want to slow down the clock and enjoy every moment of every half day Friday. Once Labor Day hits, we return to a full five-day work week, and it just makes life different. Those extra daytime hours you get back during the summer makes things that much brighter, shinier, and it feels like a longer weekend.
Our summer has been mellow and yet full of change and growth. In my opinion, it’s just how it should be. We have completed a ton of projects around our house and yard, strategized for which upcoming projects have a higher priority or what we should shell out some green in order to proactively fix or repair certain things. We have sat in the sun, done our fair share of grilling, eating seasonal berries and tomatoes, exploring artisan fairs and farmers markets, oh I could go on.
Summer is my favorite time of year. The days are long, the sun is out, it is warm, if not just downright HOT. Freckles begin to populate on my arms, face, and back. There is just a healthy glow that surrounds everyone, not to mention the happiness that exudes almost everyone (especially in Oregon where sunshine is in shortage for nine months out of the year). During the winter I burrow inside and read a book. In the summer I bask in the sun while I read and take cat naps between chapters. What is not to love about that? As with any season of the year, summer is a time of transformation, and I appreciate all the precious moments I have had this summer with Chris, at work, with family (even if it is via text or Facetime). Life is good. I have no complaints.
Generally speaking, I am not a fan of talking to my seat mates on an airplane. I am more of the put-on-my-headphones and check-out-of-the-world passenger. Call me snobby, an introvert, or selfish, but I just do not like to engage in dialogue on an airplane. I am fine with the quick “where is your final destination” or other banter that only lasts for a few minutes.
So when I was flying back from Chicago late last week, I had quite the experience on my flight – in a good way. I was in a middle seat, which is my least favorite. I am more of an aisle girl, which gives me more freedom to get up whenever I want, and no one on one side of me. The flight was completely booked, and my ticket did not allow me to select my seat until I checked in. At the time of check-in there were only middle seats left, and I was a bit bummed. It meant being stuck if the individual in the aisle was asleep, etc.
So back to my flight. I settle into my middle seat and look to the man at my left who is in the window seat and is asleep. He looks familiar to me. For awhile I cannot place him, but my intuition tells me that I know him, but just cannot place him yet. I am wiped out after a full week of meetings in Chicago, and know I may sleep most of the flight. I close my eyes for a while as we take off, and eventually my neck hurts based on the horrible seat on the old plane and how I am sitting. The man to the right of me, in the aisle seat, brings his laptop down from the overhead bin, and based on the tag on the bottom of his laptop I knew he worked at my same company. I decided to ask him where he worked within our company, and we ended up talking for the first half of the flight.
I then was able to place the man in the window seat. He is the father of a good friend’s daughter’s husband. I know a few degrees of separation, but I met him about a year ago. We ended up talking until the end of the flight, and near the time of our descent into the Portland area, both of my seat mates began talking to each other about surfing in Oregon, California, and Hawaii.
I remarked to each of them that it was a first for me to sit between two people on a flight that I knew or was connected to in some way (of course other than someone I am specifically traveling with). I told them that I generally try to sit in my own bubble during a flight and not talk to others. They each remarked that our row of three seats were some of their best traveling companions. Such an interesting flight – it went by fast. You never know who might be sitting right next to you!