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Bums, The Blues, and Crazy Holiday Shoppers....

Saturday, December 06, 2014

It seems to me that everyone is feeling a little blah this time of year. Maybe I'm wrong, or maybe it's the weather, lack of sunlight...I don't know. But I'm feeling it too. And I don't like it. One bit.

Every year I get super stressed about finding the RIGHT present, bringing the RIGHT side dish, not forgetting ANY co-worker, baking the RIGHT cookies, doing the RIGHT crafts with the kid, that by the time Christmas comes, I'm upset because I failed to truly enjoy all the lights, sounds, smells, feelings...that come with this holiday that I go from stressed to depressed in 3 seconds. And every year I tell myself to just chill, to not do that again. But the crazy has already started.

Today the husband and I went shopping for the "Giving Snowman". It's a program at my school, where people less fortunate can turn in a wish list for items (presents, clothes, shoes, etc), and snowflake cut outs with the anonymous wishes are placed on the snowman. If you want to participate, you just take one off the wall, buy the item, and return it to the office and they take it from there. I decided not to participate in the Secret Santa thing at work (I mean really, what teacher needs ANOTHER coffee cup or candy bar?), so that I could buy more snowflakes. I took five (there's my good deed for the day, Diane.lol).

Four stores later, we drove home, nerves frazzled. This is what I realized from my excursion:

1. Fools will run over you with a cart for that perfect ornament.
2. I miss being able to spend $2 on an outfit (baby clothes are SO much cheaper than 12 year old's clothing. lol)
3. Baby clothes are SOOO stinkin' CUTE!
4. I need to get over this baby fever before I get myself in trouble
5. It's hard to find a size 13 girl's shoe before Christmas. Also a men's size 6 1/2
6. Frozen has taken over America.
7. A crosswalk is NOT a safe crosswalk in the beginning of December.

AND THEN...

We're at a stop light, and I'm searching for a dollar for a homeless guy (or so says his sign 'wife and child homeless), but I don't have any, because I gave my last ones to the Salvation Army bell-ringers. Good thing, too, because a second later, he's met up with two other 'homeless' people, about to get into a fight over whether or not to go into the Walgreen's on the corner (of happy and healthy, apparently) to buy beer, or take a bus down to a major road, where they can make a LOT more money, and then come back and buy MORE beer.

So they start counting their dollars, and with each crumpled dollar, all I'm seeing is one person's kindness, another person's caring, another person's love for mankind smoothed out on a sidewalk in preparation for a booze fest.

Did you hear that sound? That was my heart breaking.

I don't care what people on the streets do with money that others give them- I've given money to a guy who had a sign that said "Need Beer!" before because hey, he was honest. But to consciously write about a wife and child, and then that?? It's so shady.

We drove home in silence, and I felt like I was going to cry. So now, I'm depending on YOU, Spark Friends, to help me out.

Can you tell me something GOOD that you've witnessed this holiday season? I really need a pick me up, and maybe someone else will read your comments and it'll pick them up too. Can you change my sh*tty day into a total lovefest? Please?





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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • FRABBIT
    I too get caught up in everything and forget to enjoy the season but I have to say the immediate thing I have witnessed is you taking the time out to help 5 different people. Way to go. And thanks for the holiday reminder to stay calm and remember what this is all about.

    Oh and I got a candy cane from Santa today!
    2060 days ago
  • WINDYCITYCYNDEE
    The world is the most wonderful and terrible place you can imagine, isn't it? It's so so normal to get disillusioned when people take advantage of your kindness. And it's true that often those who need help won't ask for it because they do not want to be lumped with the grifters and users. That being said, we never truly know anyone's story.

    It even happens with students. Not so much with the little wobbles you teach, thank goodness, but with adults (I use that word loosely) occasionally the person you gave the biggest break to will return your favor with acid, and it hurts. But someone else will come along and be an angel and restore your faith eventually. emoticon
    2061 days ago
  • STILLMENEWBODY
    Sounds like you had quite the day. Gosh, oh I know! We had friends visit us from Texas this weekend. One of the things they wanted to do for old times sake was go to a hockey game. Once a year FORD hosts a game to help collect teddy bears to give to charities. The bears are distributed by a group of select charities. Last night, there were over 2600 brand new teddy bears donated by the fans. The way it works is when the home team scores the first goal, the bears are thrown out onto the ice. It was an amazing experience. This is the 17th year this has taken place. So....that should bring a smile to your face right? So SMILE A LITTLE SMILE FOR ME.....SPARKY!!!! xo
    2066 days ago
  • BBEAGAN
    Beautiful story Rare Bean. Thank you. I do not believe most people are homeless by choice. Homelessness is far more systemic than that. Nor do I believe that most homeless people are scamming the public. Certainly some may be, but the instances of calling beer money cash for wife and kids are probably no more frequent than the business people who are calling three-martini lunches legitimate business expenses on their income taxes. And frankly, I'm not sure how one could survive on the street without a drug of choice...
    2067 days ago
  • A_RARE_BEAN
    5 snowflakes, sparky, you have an enormous heart and yeah it can be really tough for people with giant hearts to see shady things or people who aren't as giving or considerate. YOU are making a difference, and that's how we change the world, or at the least make it less bleak, 5 people are gonna know that someone out there cares, cause you took their snowflakes emoticon


    Dunno bout this holiday season since I've not really been anywhere, but the last encounter I had with a homeless person surprised me. I was out on my walk, early morning and in the underpass there are always people sleeping there, the regulars I do give cash to if I have it as they always have a kind word to say and we have a quick chat as they 'know' me from seeing me everyday. But this one guy on that particular day I'd never seen before, anyhoo as I got closer he was looking at me and I took my earphones out to hear what he was saying, I PRESUMED he was asking for money and was about to say I didn't have any, and prepare myself for the rudeness that can often come after...and he repeated himself and said 'hello miss, nice morning to you' I smiled back and said good morning to you too, stay well. The guy's face lit up, he looked teary and said thank you like I'd just given him a tenner. ... it took me back cause I think he just wanted to be acknowledged, he didn't ask for a dime...I'm SO used to being harrassed for money that I sorta didn't know what to do...I was still expecting him to ask but he didn't. If I had something I woulda given it. It reminded me that not everyone is shady, that you know everyone has their story and it can't be easy living that life, at all, and sometimes some people just need to know they are still human and still matter.

    A more personal one...I go to a support centre (in london) for people with mental health problems. One guy there...pretty much needs support for most things, ie paying bills, keeping things organised and dressing and washing etc. I think this guy is super cool and we always have fun together, he's probably in his 60's, anyway I think the world of him. He one day overheard me whilst I was in the main room, that I was hungry and really craving some home cooking of rice and peas, jerk chicken etc, but I was just gonna make do with a sandwich. I was totally unaware until he got back that when he heard that, this guy who struggles to do pretty much everything, took himself, walked 30 damn minutes down the road to a carribean shop, the shop assistant helped him choose what to get, helped him pay with the right money, then came back to the centre and with a giant smile said to me 'I bought you lunch'. I almost cried, I knew how hard that must have been for him. I told him he shouldn't have and that was way too kind of him but such a lovely gesture and he said you treat me nice and make me smile, I want you to smile too. We shared it and had a super yummy lunch! There are so many people with good hearts, truly, the shady cats can't ever take that away!

    **throws glitter** you'll get your happy back emoticon
    2068 days ago
  • RASPBERRY56
    1) Fools will run you over with a car for NO good reason whatsoever! (Well, at least where I come from, anyhow)....... emoticon

    2) "Frozen" has NOT taken over all of America - not MY life, anyhow (frankly, I can't see the appeal of that film at all - so *bah humbug*)!

    emoticon

    But seriously, now.........I totally share and understand your frustration with "people" (note the quotes here!) and their "behaviofr" (again, note quotes!) during the holiday season - one of MANY reasons WHY I ABHORE HOLIDAYS! But I digress - and since you were asking for positivity, I'll back off of my spiel and vent (sorry about that)...........

    I belong to a local dance club that for many years has participated in a charity dance for the Marine Corps' "Toys For Tots" charity (perhaps you may have heard of this)........new, unwrapped toys are donated along with a nominal fee for attendance, and during the course of the event a group of Marines (in full, sharp uniforms no less!) arrive to pick up the donations (at one point we had a Marine as part of our club, and he and a few other folks would join in the dancing - it was quite cool to watch)...........

    Makes you think better of people,, if even for a short time.......

    I hope you recover fully from this experience, and remember, above all things , to "not let the turkeys (or whatever term you choose) get you down"!

    emoticon
    2068 days ago
  • BUTTONPOPPER1
    Well, I live in the country with the world's most aged population. At the moment, more than 20% of Japanese are older than 65, and that proportion is set to rise steadily. Anyway, I often ride buses where all the seats are already taken by elderly people, so I have to stand up all the way to wherever the bus is going, but I don't mind because whenever we stop at the next bus stop, some more elderly people get on, and then there are a few moments where the old people already seated assess the old people who just got on the bus. I often see old people--who can barely stand and keep their balance themselves--offer their seats to newcomers they deem less able to make the trip standing up. Of course, I'm already standing, so there's nothing I can do but observe. I'm a softie, I guess, but no matter how many times I see these acts of kindness, I get a lump in my throat.

    P.S. I hope you feel better soon. Just think how happy those children will be as a result of your generosity! You are making a difference!
    2068 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/7/2014 1:55:56 AM
  • FORZACHANDMATT
    Frozen has taken over America :))))
    2068 days ago
  • LIVINHEALTHY9
    Don't let one unsavory, untruthful, scummy person take away from all the good things you did today!

    Your generosity will help 5 others. And that should make you smile!
    2068 days ago
  • DESERTDREAMERS
    Well, you know about the viral picture of the local APD officer walking an elderly woman across a busy intersection, right?

    I work with Veterans - and am one. The majority of them are gracious and grateful - so we are back to them. The "homeless" that beg on the streets are frequently not vets - they just buy the uniforms at the stores and play on people's sympathies. They know more places to get free meals and shelter than I do - but, you have to be sober to stay there. Our "frequent flyers" intoxicated &/or druggies can be pretty rude - I have to bite my tongue a lot (and that hurts!)

    You are my shining star! emoticon

    I am SUPER grateful for online shopping. I HATE crowded stores and the drama. Several years ago, I had a near panic attack in a Sears down in El Paso - and I don't get paninc attacks. Too many people stealing my air! emoticon
    2068 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/6/2014 11:01:19 PM
  • HEYRED221
    YOU are the happy in this day. You are helping others and that is such a wonderful thing. Just enjoy what you did have today. You and your hubby to enjoy the sanity together. Its all good. Take a deep breath, make some hot tea and watch a fun christmas movie. Tomorrow will be a better day!

    Sending love and hugs,

    Carolyn emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2068 days ago
  • 62ANDWINNING
    MOST homeless are homeless by choice; they refuse to follow the rules in a shelter or to stay clean. Many beggars make damn good money.

    Now for the good news. Our local Dutch Brothers coffee (like Starbucks, but much better!) just announced an awesome half price for gift cards promo for Tuesday afternoon.

    Rich and I were just hired for a "for pay" Santa gig. We will be donating the $300 to our church food bank, Rich took $80 of food to the bank on Friday and we delivered 200# of ground beef in October.

    My daughter in Michigan received a call from a local church. Since she has a life-threatening dairy allergy, they are blessing her with a gift basket for Christmas filled with her special Dairy-free (very expensive) foods.

    A man in our town does a one hour long synchronized light music show every evening during Christmas. The music is broadcast on an FM station.

    Hmmmmm....there is more, I know there is!
    2068 days ago
  • SPEDED2
    How about a very authentic looking mall Santa, who left his upholstered chair and a line of children, to walk over to my husband who's wearing his US Navy Retired hat, and thanked him for his service? Made my eyes water!!
    emoticon
    2068 days ago
  • GHK1962
    I was going to go into an explanation of why marked crosswalks can actually be a bit more dangerous than unmarked ones .... but after reading the entire blog post I'd rather just let you know ...

    Good thing - Some people trick others. MOST do not. That I believe.

    Good thing - Our giving tree that our office puts up - after the 1st day over half the tags were taken ... even in hard times ... people do good things.

    Good thing - Santa ... he is ninja. (Yes, there is a story to this ... but ninja's are cool. So Santa must be cool too.)

    Good thing - Spark friends. Dino ones. Walker ones. Button ones. Ones with names that we use only acronyms for. Maybe not goofy ones though. But definitely the ones who are Babes and are Windy. And the wolf ones too ... because they are like dogs. And dogs rule.
    2068 days ago
  • TWESTEN1
    Baby girl! You did awesome -you chose 5 snowflakes and are going to make people smile with JOY!!!! Because you are amazing! Yes, there are a bunch of obnoxious people around and there will always be the heartbreak... there will always be those who are working the system or scamming... but there are also those who will treasure that smile you threw their way, or be appreciative of a gift for their child that they couldn't afford...

    So, I decided to pay for the gal's order behind me at Dunkin Donuts yesterday... and guess what? She had a frickin' "pre order".... her pre order came to $32!!!! Needless to say, I only put $10 towards it and hoped that put a smile on her face :) As my daughter just said, "this is why we don't do nice things for people"... she needs to meet your Em and learn all about jazz hands!!!

    Love you, chickie! Smile and relax now & focus on the positive!
    2068 days ago
  • TWIRLNYC
    emoticon what you do has made a difference!
    2068 days ago
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