Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Catching Up

Well Christmas day has come and gone, which means I have some catching up to do. I owe you all five dakband stories. I did give away dakbands everyday up until the 24th, but the truth is I cannot for the life of me remember them all. This is the truth. Really. I do remember the 23rd though.......it was an exceptional day for dakband giveaways.

Despite that neither of us were remotely close to having our shopping done, we decided to drop off a picture frame that needed a new piece of glass, thinking it would only take a moment of our time (and we really needed the space it had occupied on our buffet- for the past 6 months-for our nativity scene). This turned out to be one of the best decisions of our holidays. While waiting for the glass to be cut we struck up a conversation with the woman who was working about a fabulous framed print of Shepard Fairey's Obama poster. As a confirmed Obamaholic I was impressed. She shared with my husband and I that the store owner (Karen) had followed Obama for many years before his election as president. (Me too!). Wouldn't you know, right at that moment Karen walked into the store. An hour and half later we finally left, much richer for having met her. We talked politics, which is to say, we talked about our communities, leadership, the environment, and our collective future. While showing us more prints of the Obama campaign, she gifted each of us with a limited edition postcard of the same print that was hanging on the wall. Thankfully, I had an arm full of dakbands. But best of all, I met a kindred spirit.

Then, just a few hours later - I was still rejoicing about my Obama postcards - while standing in line at Zellers I over heard a father talking with his two young daughters. They each had a toy in their hands and he was praising them for making such good choices. The toys were for Toy Mountain (or something similar). He was asking them all kinds of wonderful questions....."How old do think the children who receive these toys might be? Do you think these toys are for a little boy, or a little girl?" Ironically I had a bunch of children's dakbands in my purse, so I turned around, excused myself for eves dropping, and gave each little girl a pair of bands (they were around 8 years old). As I walked away, I could hear the father say, "what a wonderful idea."

What an amazing day.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Only 5 days left

I'm going to do my best to try and remember the dakband tales from last Thursday until today, but being severely sleep deprived, I'm not sure I'll remember much past the last hour. Thursday evening I returned home after an evening out to find my beautiful Mojo (my dog) whimpering on the couch. An emergency trip to our vet, and a sleepless night preceded a diagnosis of a herniated disc - not good. I somehow have to figure out how to stop the dog from climbing or descending stairs, jumping up on any furniture (where he spends a good part of most days)or greeting us at the door on his hind legs! Then the next night we were just crawling into bed when the four year woke up with an ear ache.....Saturday morning we left for Kingston to pick up our other son. Despite being awake all night Friday, the four year found the hotel room too interesting to sleep, which, unfortunately, was not the case for me - except of course for the four year who refused to sleep.

So here goes.....

Thursday, December 17:

It's coming to me.....Oh yeah! This is a good one. Maryann came up to visit and we made a Costco run with the four year old in tow. We got separated while shopping because, as usual, I made it to the furthest point in the store when Garrett announces (to everyone) that he has to go pee. Have you EVER tried to race through Costco the week before Christmas? Once our toilet duties were done I decided that we would wait for Maryann with some fries and a pop, no sense starting over at that point. As the three of us were leaving the store, the gentleman who inspects the carts and receipts drew a snowman with a happy face on the back of our receipt, for Garrett. I gave him a pair of bands, despite the long line forming behind us!

Friday, December 18:

A server at the Williams Coffee Pub, after I dropped Garrett at school. Just because she brought me my double long espresso. I know this is her job and not particularly kind, but I really needed that coffee after spending the night at the vets!

Saturday, December 19:

To a gentleman who helped me put my shopping cart away because my hands were full. I got the feeling the zombie like look on my face evoked some pity.

Sunday, December 20:

Today was a dakless day, most of it spent in the car. I could give some dakbands to my wonderful husband, who is not quite as sleep deprived since the four year old jumping on the bed (beside us), pretending to snore, and singing Christmas carols did affect his ability to sleep at all. Nevertheless, he (my husband) greeted the morning with his usual cheerful demeanor, treated our family, our son's girlfriend and our daughter's best friend to breakfast, and then drove all the way home while I tried to nap - lulled to sleep by Garrett's rendition of the twelve days of Christmas....over.....and over....and over....again.....NOT!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blah Blah Blah

A good friend, who never fails to inspire me, and whom I have blogged about a few times in the past, suggested the title for this post. I explained earlier today, over a phone conversation, that I had to catch up on my dak giveaway reporting because, although I have not posted for a few days, I have been giving away my daks! So here's the update......

Saturday, December 12: this, unfortunately, was a dakless day - and not because I didn't try. I set out with an armful of green and red dakbands, my dak radar in full force, and after a busy day that involved breakfast in town, shopping, christmas tree shopping.....I hadn't given away a single dak. I'm not sure, but I'm beginning to think it's the season.

Sunday, December 13: We didn't leave the house because our four year old was quite sick. However, my fabulous, wonderful, loving daughter gave up most of her day to help wash floors, do dishes, vacuum, etc....I gave her a pair of bands because her kindness made my day!

Monday, December 14: I was forced to drag my still ill four year old out of the house, while I picked up some groceries. Once I got him back into the car, loaded all the groceries into the back, I realized that I had to return the cart. Ugh! At just that moment, a beautiful, elderly woman, offered to take the cart but she wanted to look for a quarter for me (the cart cost a quarter - guess where I shop). I explained that I didn't need the quarter, she was helping me by taking the cart because my son was in car. You'd have thought she had won the lottery. "Thank-you, and Merry Christmas," she said. I couldn't resist....that was my first Merry Christmas of the season.

Tuesday, December 15: I ran into the store for a few things, and the cashier was so awesome, it warmed my heart. She bagged my groceries, chatted with me about shopping, and then she was patient and kind when another customer rudely demanded her attention. I love people like her!

Wednesday, December 16: I put an entire package (24 sets) in the mail for Maryanne because her Christmas letter I received in the mail today was incredible (I am going to ask her if I can share portions of it with you - whoever 'you' are). Also, she promised to come and visit me tomorrow.

Remind me to tell you about the visit I had with my Mary Kay consultant today .....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Squire Daks

Tonight we were leaving Ye Old Squire, after our Friday night fish & chips (delicious as always), and as we were leaving a twenty-something gentleman held the doors for us. I gave him some christmas daks (green and red) with my usual speel, "These are for acts of kindness in our community. One is for you to keep, the other you can give to someone else doing something kind."

His response, "Cool. I'll do that, thanks!"

Sometimes it's just the simple things.

“The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness.” Maya Angelou

Hospital Daks

The few of you that follow my little blog are probably thinking that my 'advent dak project', as I'm calling it, is taking on a similar on-again-off-again trajectory as my attempt to blog every day for a month. But you would be wrong. My failure to post about my dakband giveaways for the 9th and 10th, was not because I forgot, or didn't give any away, or was too busy....or any other regular excuse. I was in the hospital with a little heart scare :( But looking on the bright side, I had lots of opportunities to give dakbands to all the kind nurses and staff!!

To begin, I think it is important to say that our local hospital, Joseph Brant Memorial Hosipital, although facing staff shortages, funding challenges and a myriad of other difficulties, is filled with sincere, caring, hardworking individuals dedicated to serving the people that come through the doors.

Just a few stories that deserved daks:

Being in the trauma center (because my concern was heart related), there were some pretty sick individuals and stories taking place around me. All of them were moving. However, one woman who was very sick with complications due to chemotherapy, was being cared for by her 'best friend'(that was how she referred to herself). The patient could not talk because of a laryngectomy, so her friend translated for her, was asking doctors all the right questions, simply ensuring that her best friend was being cared for. She was there for hours!! She definitely deserved a dakband.

Yesterday an orderly was taking me down for tests. He could see that I was a bit nervous. So he very kindly gave me a mini lesson in meditation and relaxation. It was great. He was so gentle, and sincere. When he took me back to my room I gave him a pair of dakbands. His reaction was so touching. He told me that in Judaism daks would be called mitzvahs. I love that. I need to do a post about mitzvahs!! I saw him in the hallway as I was leaving and he had already given one of his bands away!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Striped Egyptian Hippopotamus

Today I was mailing our oldest son a care package - an exam tradition - so I was once again in line at the post office. I had no choice but to bribe Garrett with a striped Egyptian hippopotamus (daddy speak for zebra) that he found amongst a pile of plush toys in one of the aisles. While I was preparing the package and trying to keep Garrett from playing with the striped Egyptian hippopotamus on floor (because I had no intention of buying it!)I couldn't help but notice how the clerk was interacting with all the customers.

He was funny, attentive, patient and even shared a joke with an elderly Scottish woman who was in no hurry to leave at all. He created a sense of familiarity that brightened everyone's day and made us all feel great. I wasn't sure how he would react to the dakbands, being older and male, but his reaction was sincere and he immediately put them on his wrist. It really is all about the small gestures.

Yesterday was, sadly, a dakless day. Despite my dak senses being on full alert, I did not have one opportunity to share the kindness. Dakless days make me sad.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Might be Cheating

When we overslept and missed church, I knew that I might have missed my only opportunity to give away some dakbands. With three assignments due in the next two days I was fully committed to locking myself in the office and staying there until one of those papers was finished!

So while packaging some dak orders (okay I did leave the office for a few moments), I put a few extra sets in each order! I fully admit this might be stretching the concept and intention of giving away at least a pair of dakbands a day between December 1 and Christmas Day, but I had to do something!!

I promise to leave the house tomorrow.

I leave you with this beautiful quote that reminds me of the effect of kindness:

“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on [all] the faces surrounding him.” —Albert Camus
(1913-1960); Author, Playwright, Philosopher

I did not forget!

I did not forget to give away my dakbands yesterday, I just ran out of time to blog about it!

Yesterday was good dakband day in fact. Armed (literally) with my red and green festive bands I left the house early to start the day with my sisters kick boxing class. Perhaps it was the physical exhaustion, but I did not give any bands away at the club. Not to be discouraged I picked up my husband and son and we headed off to brave the Costco crowd. I'm sure you can image what the line ups are like three weekends before Christmas - it's not pretty. Not to be distracted we navigate the flow of shoppers, pick up just what we need and then line up to pay. It is a looong line. My husband realizes that we forgot compost bags and wonders if he should run to the back of the store to get them. My look suggests that he probably has enough time to run to the next Costco to get the bags. Wouldn't you know it, he hasn't rounded the aisle when two new registers open and now we are the first in line. I try unloading the cart slowly, stalling best I can, but there is soon a girl helping and before I know it the cashier is asking if I want this on my card. I explain that my husband went to get something we forgot. Her look pleads, This is really not a good time..... I tell her to just ring it threw, no problem, we'll forget about the compost bags. Of course, as soon as I sign the card I see James at the back of the line, well I think it's him, he is so far away it's difficult to say. Much to our relief, she invites him over and rings in the bags. Now that is kind!

We head back to our car, unload the groceries and the child, and a very kind gentleman offers to return our cart. I need to hang out at Costco more often.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Post office kindness

Of course I am somewhat biased but I love the intentionality of kindness. Whenever I am consciously looking for opportunities to give the dakbands away, for the most part, I find kindness everywhere.

Today in the five minutes I carved out of a ridiculously busy day to make a run to the post office to mail dakband orders I found myself behind twenty people mailing christmas cards and packages. My first thought was to just come back at another time, but seeing as this was my only break in the day, and quite frankly when would be a better time between now and Christmas in terms of lines? So I settled in and turned on my dakband radar.....when it was finally my turn (now there were twenty people behind me!), I put all my packages on the counter (note the audible sighs). After the clerk measured and weighed them all and told me the cost, I realized that I had forgotten my wallet at home. I am already late to pick my daughter up from the Go station, and my son from daycare......what to do I wonder. I could feel the crowd behind me becoming mutinous....

This kind post office clerk, offered to keep my packages until I could come back with my purse. So off I went. When I returned an hour and half later, she had them ready and waiting. She definitely got a pair of bands. And when I explained that they were for acts of kindness, one was for her to keep and one for her to give away, she immediately turned around and gave it to her co-worker!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ikea Kindness

We arrive at the local Ikea with only half an hour before the ball room closes for the evening - and we had promised Garrett he could play in the ball room. We quickly sign him in and rush upstairs to get some shopping done. Not fifteen minutes pass when the entire store learns my presence is required at the ballroom. Of course I am at the furthest point from the ballroom and can't for the life of me figure how to find my way back to the entrance without running the length of the entire store! I arrive to see my son walking around the playroom with his pants hanging around his knees while he tries half-heartedly to hold them up in between sprints across the room. The lady in charge looks at me and says, " That's why we called you."

Apparently, he went to the washroom and as he pulled his pants up the waistband button came undone. Because his pants wouldn't stay up he decided that he didn't need them, or his underwear. He walked out of the bathroom into the playroom commando. The ladies in charge of the playroom are not allowed to touch the children, so they had to coax him back into the bathroom and convince him to put his pants back on - which was no small feat, since he really didn't understand the point of wearing pants that wouldn't stay up!!

I thought they deserved some dakbands.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I'm sure this won't be the first or last time during this dak giveaway extravaganza, that all of a sudden I realize it is 5:00 pm, I'm going home to make dinner and unless there is a fire, won't be leaving my house for the rest of the evening - and I haven't given away any dakbands! And for some reason, the fact that it is dark exacerbates my panic because it feels like midnight. I begin to wonder if it counts if I just simply give someone a pair of dakbands, even if they haven't done anything kind? After all, it might inspire them to be kind. But then I wonder what to say, "Hi, I saw you just standing there in line and thought you might want some bands that will inspire you to be kind?" Doesn't really work does it?

So while all these scenarios are playing through my scattered brain, the cashier at Zarkey's is putting my dinner into plastic bags when I suddenly cry out, "Oh, I have my own bag thanks." There are at least five people behind me in line (groaning). But she not only unpacked my groceries, she re-packed them for me in my cloth bag. And she did it with a smile! I silently thanked the kindness gods and gave her two green dakbands!! She was almost as thrilled as I was.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I hesitate to share this, since my first attempt to blog everyday for a continuous month took me about six weeks. Yet, I am inspired by the season of Advent, the first of December and the fact that today I addressed all the teachers at a local high-school that is implementing the dakbands. I want to model for them the possibilities I speak about. Sooooo........

I am going to try and give away a pair of dakbands everyday between now and Christmas, and share the story here. I've been contemplating the idea for a few days, but was afraid that I would fail as miserably as my attempt to simply blog everyday. Yet once I made the emotional commitment the Law of Attraction kicked into high gear and I became a kindness magnet.

To start the day, I had to do some banking - with my four year old in tow. As you can imagine, this is never really the best scenario because while I am talking with the teller, swiping cards, punching in numbers and trying to keep all the business and personal accounts straight, Garrett is usually hanging off my leg, trying to help me push the buttons and generally distracting me by entertaining everybody in line. Today he was particularly impressed with all the red and white balloons that were decorating the teller area. Somewhat manipulatively he began to share with the girls, and anyone else who could hear, how much he really like those balloons. He left with a beautiful red balloon, on a stick no less, that he carried around for the rest of the morning - until it escaped while he was getting out of the car at Starbucks. I gave a whole set of pink daks to the girls. (and by the way, the Scotia bank at Walkers Line and New Street, in Burlington is the BEST!)

We walked into Starbucks, my daughter, her best friend, myself and Garrett, hoping for a moment to sit down and enjoy a delicious decaf, non-fat, half-sweet, no-whip, peppermint mocha (peppermint hot chocolate for the little guy who just lost his balloon). But the only place left to sit was a table for two....we all stood around awkwardly with our hot drinks, until a very kind gentleman got up from the corner where he was sitting alone with four cozy chairs, and he moved to the small table. I gave him two bands as we left.

If that wasn't enough kindness for one day.....while I was presenting at the high-school this afternoon, one of the teachers (who opened the meeting with a beautiful prayer!) shared her agenda with me and was just heartwarmingly kind. I used her as my part of my demonstration and gave her a pair of bands.

I think I'll start wearing red and green bands in recognition of the season, and I'll have to wear an arm full if this keeps up!