Random Acts of Kindness

When I was 18, I was going to the local college in my town. Not having a car of my own, my mother was gracious enough to let me share hers so that I didn’t have to ride the bus with all the crazies. Because we shared the car, I would take her to work in the morning and then come home and get ready for class myself. Because I like to sleep and am lazy, I would often take her to work in my pajamas (usually without a bra). That’s okay, because when I was 18 they were upright and perky.

At this time our car had been having trouble with the alternator. The battery kept dying on me and it took this incident to get my dad to replace it. I was driving home from just having dropped off my Mom at work. I was on one of the main streets in my city and it was very crowded with rush hour traffic. All of a sudden my car lost power. Luckily I was on a hill and could kind of coast my way down to a 7-11 at the bottom of the hill. Back then, cell phones weren’t that common and luckily I had enough change on me to call my Mom at work. She couldn’t really do anything about it because she was without a car herself so she called my Grandpa and he agreed to come and pick me up.
While I was standing there waiting for my grandpa, this lady came up to me who had been getting gas moments before. She must have seen the distraught look on my face. I probably was crying because I over-react to stressful situations. She said hello to me and then handed me some money. She told me that I looked like I had had a pretty rough morning and told me to use the money to go and get myself a cup of coffee and a donut. It was probably because she was so nice to me that I blurted out my story of my battery dying and waiting for my Grandpa and now I’m late for class and I’m still in my pajamas and it’s cold outside. She told me that her daughter was a college freshman up in Idaho and offered to use her car to come and jump start my car. She did this for me (I had no idea how to hook up the jumper cables) and stayed with me until my Grandpa came. Then she disappeared and I never saw her again. My grandpa followed me home to make sure the car didn’t die again. Thankfully after that my Dad agreed it was the alternator and I never had another incidence like that again.
I couldn’t believe at the time what that total stranger did for me that morning. She was just getting gas and saw a distraught girl and decided to do something to make her day a little better, even if it was just a cup of coffee and a donut. When I told her what was wrong with my car, she could have said that she hoped it worked out for me and left, but she went out of her way to help me jump my car and get me back on the road. It was her kind deed that made me decide right then and there to stop being so selfish and to notice the people around me. I hope one day I can return the favor by helping a stranger in need. On this cold morning this stranger showed me the meaning of charity.
It reminds me of a scripture from the New Testament:
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
-Matthew 25: 35 – 40

A shout out to Emily

This morning I dropped my kids off at my in-law’s house and went out to my car to go to work. That’s when I discovered I had locked my keys in the car. The dealer only gave us one set when we bought our mini-van (price you gotta pay for a very cheap used car) so my husband couldn’t come and rescue me. He did, however, remind me that my brother-in-law is a police officer and would probably have the necessary tools to come open my car. My mother-in-law called my sister-in-law Emily and she came over right away and broke into my car for me. So this is a big fat THANK YOU to Emily and all her awesomeness. I was only 30 minutes late to work and didn’t have to pay a locksmith. Em, I owe you a very big cookie.

I don’t obey stupid rules, aka Spaghetti Sauce-gate


My son does not like spaghetti sauce. He’s not a big fan of tomatoes in all its forms in general. Whenever we make spaghetti he just has the noodles with some cheese on it. Either Parmesan cheese or sometimes he likes shredded cheddar. As long as he eats something, I don’t really care.

That’s brings us to an incident that happened at the summer school lunch program today.
But first I must say, that I respect the summer school lunch program and it’s mission. In my school district there are several schools that offer a free school lunch during the summer months to all children under the age of 18 in the district. The purpose of this is to provide all children with at least one nutritious meal during the day, and more importantly, to provide a meal to low income children (free school lunch is usually offered at schools where there is a high number of students on the reduced lunch program). Sadly, for many children that one free meal at school is their only meal all day. As a social worker I believe a program like this is highly needed and very wonderful.
Today I took my son to the summer lunch program. He likes going there because he gets a variety of food rather than his usual lunch staples at home (ham sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, etc.). He also enjoys socializing with the other children, and if mommy is feeling especially nice that day, playing on the playground after he eats his lunch.
Every single day at school lunch they offer a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and something else. The something else today was spaghetti. I’ve already told you my son doesn’t like spaghetti sauce so when he got up to the front of the line I asked the lunch lady if he could only have noodles. She said yes and proceeded to give him a bowl of just noodles. He took the rest of his food and we made our way out of the lunch line and into the cafeteria. Until the lunch lady who sits at the cash register (adults have to pay $3 for school lunch, hence the need for a cash register at a free lunch place) stopped my son and this was our exchange:
Lunch Lady: Stop! He has to have sauce!
Me: He doesn’t like sauce.
Lunch Lady: He has to have sauce for it to be considered a complete meal. It won’t count if he doesn’t have sauce. Even if he just has it on the side.
Me: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Cole go sit down.
Lunch Lady: BUT HE HAS TO HAVE SAUCE!!!
Me: If you want to put sauce in a cup and throw it a way to “make it count” than go ahead. But I don’t understand the point of wasting food.
We then proceeded to sit down at a table. My son put shredded cheddar cheese in his noodles, just like he likes them. We sat in peace for a few minutes before the woman in charge of the lunch program came over to talk to me. This was our exchange:
Head Food Nazi: I just wanted to explain why she was saying he has to have sauce.
Me: I understand why. What I don’t understand is why it’s better to waste food than to give it to a kid who really wants it.
Head Food Nazi: Well the government rules say that if we serve a meal it has to be complete, and spaghetti with sauce is considered a meal. We have all these different governmental rules we have to follow.
Me: Look, I’m a social worker and I know what it’s like to have to follow the government’s rules. If it’s really that big of a deal get a cup of spaghetti sauce and put it on his tray and we will throw it away. I still don’t understand the point of wasting food when other children could eat it.
Head Food Nazi: That’s just what the rules tell us to do.
Me: I asked the lunch lady in line if he could have just noodles and she said yes.
Head Food Nazi: I know, and I explained to her our rules.
Me: (Sigh)
Head Food Nazi: Ma’am, if you don’t like the rules than write to your Congressman.
Me: I do all the time and I plan to. I also plan on talking to the school district.
Head Food Nazi: Well if you’re going to get this upset, the next time you come you’ll have to wait outside while he (my son) gets his food.
.
She then walked away.
Dude, she threatened me over spaghetti sauce.
I might add here that I wasn’t upset. I may have come across as snotty because I am, but I was not upset. She was the one who was getting upset. I don’t think she liked the fact that I was challenging her authority. She never did give my son a cup full of sauce so that it would “count.”
This is where I liked to point out that this rule is completely stupid. I happen to know for a fact that this one school throws away thousands of pounds of food away per year due to “the rules.” And that’s just this one school. Times that by the thousands of school in our country and you have a lot of wasted food. The purpose of this program is to feed lower income children . And yet they’re throwing away perfectly good food that could be donated to food banks and homeless shelters. If you take a jello cup and then don’t eat it and don’t open it, you can’t give it back to be given to another child. They force you to throw it away. If you don’t eat it you have to throw it away. How does this make sense? This is the one of the most RIDICULOUS thing I’ve ever encountered. To the school, to the school district, to the USDA it is more important that food is wasted so that it can be “counted” than shared or redistributed. That seems pretty effing wasteful to me, especially considering how bad the economy is right now. Not to even mention how much this wasted food could truly help people in need. And isn’t that the whole point of the program?
Will I be banned forever from the summer school lunch program? I don’t know yet. I guess we’ll see what happens when I show my face there on Monday.
I will be writing letters to my Congressman and two State Senators. And I’m thinking of placing a call into the school district.
I fought the man today. And the man is the lunch lady.

Woah

I just uploaded a new header picture of me. I dyed my hair last night and it was supposed to be “light brown.” As you can see L’Oreal and I have a much different interpretation of light brown. Anyway, my header picture is big. BIG! I don’t know how to make it smaller. But that is the most current me. Enjoy.

I changed my blog’s name….AGAIN

My blog used to be named, “The Life of Riss – Where Blond meets Blog.” Ever since I died my hair to a darker color and am no longer blond, I have struggled with what to call my blog. Nothing seemed sufficient enough. I’ve toyed around with a couple of names but didn’t not like them very much.

So now you have my new name….
The Musings of Marisa
This name is guaranteed to stick, no matter what color I dye my hair now.
And in other news…
Strep throat is my enemy. My arch nemesis. Not only did it have me flat on my back for 3 days, but my poor husband celebrated his birthday sick as a dog. Poor guy. Now my sweet little baby has strep throat. So he’s not a “little” baby anymore considering his first birthday is in 9 days, but still! Poor baby. He doesn’t deserve it.

I spell my name with one S

Hello. My name is Marisa. Not Marissa. Not Marrisa. Not Marrissa, or even Morissa, or Marysa, or hundreds of other ways to spell my name.

Marisa.
Now that you see it spelled out in front of you, don’t you think if you were writing to me, you would know how to spell my name?
Well, not a certain facebook friend of mine. She’ll comment on a post of mine, or a status update, and say things like, “Marissa, you are too funny.” I appreciate the sentiment…but my name is right there….RIGHT THERE! You can see how I spell it.
It’s getting on my nerves and I don’t know how to tell her.

What I learned from doing the Half Marathon

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while. Then I got sidelined by life and strep.

I spent roughly 10 weeks training to walk the half marathon. As a life-long asthmatic I never thought I could walk more than 3 miles at a time, let alone 13.1 miles. And yet, every week I would do my “long” walks on Saturdays and slowly build upon the mileage I had walked the week before. Every week I was surprised that I could walk farther than I walked the week before. Every week I felt my muscles and my lung capacity growing.
But this is what I learned….
I can do hard things. I can do hard things that suck. I can persevere through hard things when all I want to do is give up. The last half mile of the marathon, all I wanted to do was sit down by the side of the road and have someone come pick me up. But I kept going. Even though my feet were on fire. Even though my hips were off-kilter. Even though everything in my body told me to stop, my mind overcame my body. I kept going and I finished.
I set a goal and I met that goal. I made myself meet the goal. It wasn’t just because I paid $50 and didn’t want to waste the money. It was because I made a promise to myself that would walk the damn half marathon and I did the doggone thing.
I’m not gonna lie…it sucked. Will I ever do it again? I don’t know. I was in a lot of pain. But pain equals growth and I really feel like I grew a lot during this process. I have a lot more confidence in my physical self, my athletic abilities. I learned about myself that I can set goals and accomplish them even when they’re hard and it causes me pain.
Now when I face a hard task I will look back on my training for the marathon, and the actual marathon itself and know that
I can do hard things.