Tag Archives: winter

Dorrie – always in style! … ‘Tis the season for helping the less fortunate – people and animals!

Dorrie says dropping off clean, warm clothing and blankets at the Mustard Seed soup kitchen on Piedmont Street is the giving thing to do this Christmas!🐺🐶🐕🐺🎄🎄🎄🎁

By Dorrie Maynard

Happy Holidays, Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, Meilleurs Voeux, Felices Fiestas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, and any others that I may have missed!

As we all go on about with our busy preparations for the festivities this season with family and friends, please take some time to remember and acknowledge those who don’t have people to spend the holidays with. There are many out there who don’t even have a safe and warm place to sleep at night.

I know there is a fine line between enabling and helping, but just for this season we can all try to not judge others until we have walked in their shoes or know their battles. Some are out there because they are drinking and/or drugging and choose to continue to do so, and others are out there because of circumstances that they may have contributed to or had no assistance to handle.

A place like the Mustard Seed on Piedmont street is a great place to start giving back to your community! You can drop off gently used, clean, warm clothing, groceries, toiletries, sleeping bags, blankets, pairs of socks, or even offer to prepare and serve a meal to the sometimes more than 100 hungry people who visit daily.

The Mustard Seed is open Monday through Friday, 4 pm – 6 pm.

Other local places to consider: Abby’s House, the Veteran’s Shelter, St. John’s Feeding program, your local senior center, the Boy’s & Girls Club of Worcester, the Friendly House, the Salvation Army, just to name a few.


Children at the Friendly House Annual Christmas Party, held this past Sunday at FH, 36 Wall St., met Santa, got a holiday gift, had fun and were treated to entertainment because of the efforts and love of volunteers – and FH Executive Director Gordon Hargrove! Donations of gently used (or new!), warm, clean clothing and blankets are always needed this time of year at the Friendly House!


I don’t like to give money to pan handlers, but I do try to always have some granola bars in my car to hand
out. There was one man on a corner I recognized from working at a local food pantry, and I offered him a bar.

He said, “No thanks. I don’t have any teeth.” And then he smiled at me.

I didn’t have have anything else to give him, but he was gracious when I offered something.

I also try to have on hand: a pair of gloves, mittens, hat, scarf this time of year to give out to folks on street corners. I know it might be their attempt to look cold, thus making people
feel more sorry for them, but at least I feel better knowing they have something warm as I drive off.

If you are more into helping animals, as some are, for various reasons, another suggestion is to give to your local animal rescue league/society. They are always in need of used, clean blankets and towels, rolls of paper towels, bleach, cat litter, pet food, etc. You can always call ahead or look on line at their wish lists to find out what they truly are in need of, as things change daily, depending upon what they have or have run out of.

Help animals who may need food, shelter or a forever home!

I always believe it is best to donate to small local rescues, as they help animals in your area. I don’t like to donateto the places that you see ads for on TV as they are paying for those ads, and those “free” t-shirts or bags
that they are willing to send you for your donation aren’t “free” either.

Something else that people can do this holiday season and throughout the year: Volunteer!!! Pick a passion! Get involved in your community! It may take some time to find the perfect place where you feel like you belong, but there are plenty of places out there
that are in need of regular volunteers.

So with all this said, I would like to wish everyone a very warm, safe, happy and healthy holiday season. All the best in the coming New Year! In this very difficult world that we live in, try to have a little compassion in your heart and empathy for others. Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards All!

PETA parked in Rose’s space …

Animals need angels this holiday season

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

Buddies: Lilac and Cece. Lilac was dumped by her previous owners – chained to a fence outside an animal shelter – but now she’s got the life in her forever home with Rose! pic: R.T.

It was two days before Christmas. While families gathered inside cozy homes, one tiny dog shivered outside at the end of a heavy chain, surrounded by puddles the size of small ponds. His only shelter – if it could even be called that — was a decrepit doghouse whose sagging roof and crumbling walls offered no protection from the frigid winter rain. He was full of heartworms and so emaciated that nearly every bone in his small frame showed through his skin.

For neglected, forgotten animals like Gus (as this sweet dog was later named), the holidays are nothing to celebrate and the new year holds little hope — unless a caring person intervenes. Fortunately for Gus, that’s exactly what happened.

Two PETA volunteers were delivering doghouses and straw to help chained and penned dogs survive the winter when they spotted him. They asked his owner if he needed help, and the man explained that he couldn’t afford to feed Gus and was thinking about turning him loose in the woods. The volunteers offered to take the little dog in, and his owner readily agreed.

After a good meal and a warm bath, Gus spent his first Christmas indoors, with a comfy bed and plenty of love and attention from his foster caretaker. Eventually, he was adopted, and his adoring guardian reported that when she let him outside, he would jump up on chairs or other objects in the yard. She suspects that he did so because he’d had quite enough of sitting chained on the cold, hard ground in his previous life.

Despite his ordeal, Gus is friendly and wants to meet everyone. His favorite thing to do is snuggle under the covers.

Gus is one of the lucky ones — and so was Soupster. PETA got a frantic call one Christmas Eve from a family who wanted to surrender their dog immediately, before their new baby came home from the hospital. They’d already tried calling the shelter where they had adopted Soupster (who was then called Star) two years earlier, but there was no room at the inn: Its waiting list was weeks long.

Soupster’s owners wouldn’t wait that long, and as it turned out, neither could she. PETA welcomed her in and got her emergency veterinary care right away.

Her fur was so filthy and matted that it had to be completely shaved off, and she had so many fleas that she was anemic from blood loss. All but three of her teeth had to be pulled. An untreated infection had spread to her sinuses, leaving the roof of her mouth in need of stitches.

She had mammary tumors, an ear infection that left her deaf, and severe kidney and urinary tract infections. Her blood test revealed kidney failure. The veterinarian estimated that even with treatment, she had just three to six months to live.

But then a miracle happened: After weeks of intensive veterinary care in a foster home, Soupster’s health turned a corner. She regained her strength and her spirit, and a follow-up test revealed that her kidney function was nearly back to normal.

The PETA staffer who nursed her over the holidays adopted her — and for the last year and a half of her life, the little dog knew the comfort of a real home and the love of a family. The only sign of her ordeal was her little pink tongue that sometimes hung out because she had no teeth to hold it in. Eventually, because of the neglect that she had previously suffered, her kidney disease worsened, and her guardian made the difficult but compassionate decision to euthanize her.

PETA’s fieldworkers aren’t like Santa — they can’t make it to every house in the world. That’s why animals like Gus and Soupster need caring people in every community watching out for them — during the holidays and year round.

If there are chained or penned dogs in your neighborhood, ensure they have food, water and shelter. If they lack these or if the situation is life-threatening, notify authorities immediately. In non-emergency situations, encourage their owners to take them for walks (or offer to do so yourself), allow them indoors, and give them daily companionship and attention.

If you witness or suspect that animals are being abused or neglected, call the police immediately. And urge your local shelter to accept all animals in need.

You could be an animal’s angel this holiday season.

That puffy parka has a dirty secret

By Alisa Mullins

In mid-November, when luxury outerwear company Canada Goose opened a brick-and-mortar store in Soho, its first in the U.S., there were more protesters outside the shop than customers inside. Why the kerfuffle over puffy parkas?

Canada Goose uses down from geese and ducks to insulate its parkas and fur from coyotes to trim the hoods. Obtaining these materials involves horrific cruelty. Coyotes killed for their fur are often caught in steel-jaw traps and may be left to languish for hours or even days (which is often illegal) before the trapper returns to shoot, bludgeon or suffocate them. Trapped animals, especially mothers with babies to care for, have been known to try to chew off their own limbs in an attempt to escape.

Down is often obtained from birds who are “live-plucked.” Workers grab them by the wings or neck, pin them to the ground and rip their feathers out by the fistful. The birds often sustain bloody, gaping wounds, the worst of which are sewn up using a needle and thread without any painkillers. Many endure this abuse several times before finally being slaughtered.

Canada Goose claims to use down only from birds who were slaughtered for their flesh, but PETA eyewitnesses recently spoke to down suppliers who bragged about misleading customers by selling them live-plucked down.

PETA has also documented grotesque abuses at farms that raise ducks for meat and down.

A recent PETA exposé of Culver Duck Farms in Indiana—which bills itself as the second-largest duck slaughterer in the U.S.—revealed shocking cruelty. Video captured by an eyewitness showed workers slamming ducks against brick walls and wooden studs, causing them to cry out between blows, and some were still alive, kicking and flapping their wings, for up to an hour afterward. One worker attempted to kill at least a dozen ducks by wringing their necks or slamming them against a wall, while another pulled a duckling’s head off, an action that the supervisor described as “normal.”

Despite stating on its website that birds are “NOT FACTORY FARMED!!!” Culver crammed up to 4,000 ducks at a time into massive, windowless sheds. They had no opportunity to swim or bathe, even though they would naturally spend most of their time in and around water. The warehouses reeked of ammonia from the ducks’ accumulated waste, which burned their skin and eyes. One duck’s eyes became so coated with mucus that he could barely see.

Culver reportedly slaughters 25,000 ducks every day. Although many of them are injured or lame, they are dumped, kicked or thrown onto trailers and hauled hundreds of miles to slaughter, sometimes during extreme weather conditions.

Ducks and geese need their down, and coyotes need their fur—we don’t. There are numerous high-tech alternatives to down, including Polarguard®, Plumtech®, PrimaLoft®, ThermoBall™, and Thinsulate™, all of which are affordable, innovative and effective. Luxurious faux fur is more in demand now than ever before, and top designers—including Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Armani, to name just a few—refuse to use any animal fur in their designs. “You really can’t tell the difference [between real and faux fur],” says McCartney. “There’s no reason to kill 15 million innocent creatures.”

Climbers of Mount Everest have worn all-vegan gear. If they can endure the world’s harshest conditions while remaining cruelty-free, surely the rest of us can manage coffee runs and camping trips without harming a hair—or a feather—on an animal’s head.

Winter walks with the pups … and PETA op-ed

Cece and Rosalie say: Brrrr! Today was a winter hat day!

Cats should always be indoors – especially during the winter months. Very short-haired pups, older dogs need sweaters if they’re going out for a walk. Rose gets into walking Jett and Lilac during winter!Their walk today was invigorating!!! Here are her pups two days ago – buck-naked! Jett is half Siberian Husky and likes it cooler – no sweaters for him, thank you. Lilac has a pretty pink coat – a gift from one of Rose’s gal pals, but Rose is noncommittal. Lilac is so strong, healthy and high-spirited – putting a pink coat on her seems … silly. And a little demeaning. Truth is Rose thinks coats are for kids – not for dogs. Dogs are tough and beautiful. Rose likes to see her dogs looking like themselves. She tends to feed her guys more chow during wintertime. They bulk up some, their body fat keeps them warm. The way it would in nature.     – R.T.


Cece has a kitten-crush on Lilac!  pics: R.T.



By Paula Moore

Imagine being thrown onto a table and pinned down as someone cuts off one of your arms. A group of nervously giggling diners is sitting nearby—ready to feast on your flesh. You’re terrified and in excruciating pain, and you want nothing more than to get away. But you can’t escape. You’re kept alive, conscious and in pain, until each limb is cut off, one by one, for other diners. Then you’re killed. It sounds like the plot of a horror movie, but at some restaurants—including in the United States—this is the fate of octopuses who are hacked apart while still alive for the Korean dish “sannakji” (literally, “wriggling octopus”).

It should go without saying that eating live animals doesn’t just push the boundaries of good taste. It’s animal abuse, plain and simple.

PETA eyewitnesses visited restaurants in New York and Los Angeles where mutilated sea animals are dished up while still alive and conscious. At T Equals Fish, for example, eyewitnesses watched in horror as chefs held down an octopus—nicknamed “Pearl”—cut off some of her sensitive limbs with a butcher knife, then quickly plated and served them to customers while they were still writhing.

But Pearl’s agonizing ordeal was far from over. At this restaurant, mutilated octopuses are kept alive until other customers order the remaining limbs. Trying desperately to escape, Pearl was pushed aside like a halved tomato. According to the chef, only after every last limb was cut off would staff then rip out her intestines and let her die.

At some restaurants, lobsters’ tails are torn off, prepared “sashimi style” and plated right next to their mutilated but still-living bodies for the amusement of patrons. Live lobsters can only watch, helplessly, as diners eat their severed tails.

Chefs “prepare” live shrimp by cutting their tails off and plating them alongside their moving bodies or by tearing off their protective exoskeletons so that diners can bite right into their flesh.

Restaurants also steam octopuses, lobsters and other animals alive in “live seafood” hot pots. Raucous and giggling restaurant-goers often poke at the struggling animals, and some customers are “tasked” with keeping them in the pots because they try so desperately to escape the hot steam.

Sea animals are not merely swimming vegetables, and it’s not OK to chop them up as if they were carrots or cucumbers. Lobsters and octopuses are smart, have unique personalities—and are sensitive to pain.

Researchers know that octopuses are extremely intelligent and curious animals. They play, just as dolphins and dogs do, and are often mischief-makers in aquariums. Readers may recall news stories from earlier this year about Inky, the octopus who cleverly waited until “lights out” at the National Aquarium of New Zealand, then squeezed through a small gap at the top of a tank, scampered across the floor and slid down a 164-foot drainpipe to freedom.

Researcher Michael Kuba says that lobsters are “quite amazingly smart animals.” They use complicated signals to explore their surroundings and establish social relationships.

Shrimp are social beings who use sound or polarized light to communicate. Some live in complex colonies similar to beehives, while others mate for life.

And, like all animals, sea animals feel pain. Cephalopod expert Dr. Jennifer Mather says, “[Octopuses] can anticipate a painful, difficult, stressful situation—they can remember it. There is absolutely no doubt that they feel pain.” According to invertebrate zoologist Dr. Jaren G. Horsley, “[A] lobster is in a great deal of pain from being cut open … [and] feels all the pain until its nervous system is destroyed.”

Eating out shouldn’t be a blood sport. Please don’t patronize restaurants that have live-animal dishes on the menu, and let the manager know why you’re staying away. And consider going vegan. These days, it’s easier than ever to do, so there’s no reason for any animals—dead or alive—to end up on our plates.

Looking out for pups – always in style!

Don’t be cold-hearted, let dogs inside!

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

It’s so cold in many parts of the country that car batteries are calling it quits, streets have been transformed into skating rinks because road salt isn’t working and exposed skin can become frostbitten in a matter of minutes. Yet countless dogs — domesticated animals who are suited to curling up in armchairs, not enduring Arctic temperatures — are left outside in this bone-chilling cold 24/7, on chains or in backyard pens. And not all of them will survive.
Every winter, dogs who are left outdoors freeze to death; suffer from frostbitten ears, toes and tails; and die of dehydration or starvation — often while the people who left them out there are just a few steps away inside a cozy, warm house.
Rita was one of those dogs. A police officer reportedly found her dead on Valentine’s Day 2014 inside a pen in Madison, Illinois, that was partially covered with snow and strewn with feces. Her food and water were frozen, there was blood in the pen, her ribs were protruding and she was chained, preventing her from reaching her doghouse. A neighbor testified that she was so concerned about Rita that she had rigged up a system to lower buckets of food and water to the dog and tossed straw into the pen in an attempt to give her some warmth.
Last month, a puppy was found frozen to death inside a plastic igloo-shaped doghouse in Atlantic County, New Jersey, after being left outside in dangerously cold temperatures. Another dog, possibly the puppy’s mother, who was also left outside, was severely malnourished and died after being rushed to a veterinarian. Both dogs’ water bowls were frozen solid.
Dogs’ fur doesn’t provide them with adequate protection from freezing temperatures and biting wind, especially the short fur of dogs like pit bulls, pointers, beagles, Rottweilers and Doberman pinschers. Puppies and elderly dogs are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures, and older dogs who have spent many winters outside endure the added misery of aching, arthritic joints.
Many dogs who are chained or penned “out of sight, out of mind” in backyards are deprived of adequate and legally required shelter. They spend the winter shivering in drafty, overturned plastic barrels or huddling under haphazard lean-tos constructed out of old mattresses, rusty car parts or whatever else is lying around the yard. PETA’s fieldworkers routinely deliver sturdy, straw-filled doghouses to dogs who are forced to live like this. A doghouse is no substitute for a warm, loving home, but for these neglected animals, proper shelter often means the difference between life and a painful death.
But the coldest thing that chained and penned dogs have to endure isn’t the temperature —vit’s their owners’ indifference. Companionship means everything to dogs — they are social animals who want and need to be with their human “pack,” have their chins scratched, hear the words “Good dog!” and be loved unconditionally, as they love us. They need to exercise their bodies and minds with long walks, games of fetch and new sights, sounds and smells to explore. Stuck in the backyard like snow shovels, dogs get none of these things that make their lives worth living.
If you have dogs living outside, warm their hearts — and yours — let them inside. If there are chained or penned dogs in your neighborhood, make sure they have proper food, water and shelter — and notify authorities immediately if they don’t or if their lives are in danger. And urge their owners to welcome them inside to be with the rest of the family. There is nothing colder than leaving “man’s best friend” out in the snow.

Here come the catalogs I love! Cheers to the still green peas!

By Edith Morgan

For the first time this winter, we have a bit of snow on the ground, with some ice beneath. Luckily, the schools are still out until after the New Year, and so the slippery sleet on the roads and sidewalks is not a danger to buses and cars  – at least not for the school children, and also not for college students, who are on their winter break, too.

But for those of us who are at home much of the day when the weather gets nasty, the ice and snow are a worry. So we stay in, and wait …

The mail arrives and brings its usual load of “begging” letters,  replete with address stickers, calendars, and all manner of appeals – all designed to pull money out of our pockets. I would have to spend a great deal of time checking out all these apparently worthy causes, with many having names so similar that it is easy to get fooled. So I have started to give directly and locally, to outfits I know, or to organizations that I know really well, and who have a track record of spending the funds I donate directly to their causes, without huge administrative costs and high-paid staffs. 

But intermingled now with all this mail that I usually toss out, the gardening catalogs have begun to arrive!

And with the early coming of night still, just days after the winter solstice, these seed and plant catalogs give me a boost and let me look forward to the coming of spring. (I am told that the very mild winter so far has caused some plants to become confused and to begin sprouting in the middle of winter.)

The seed catalogs are a joy to behold: so many mouth-watering vegetables in full color – pages of bright red and even yellow tomatoes, in all sizes and of varied pedigrees!! And I can get them in various stages of development, too! Further on, peppers too come in so many shapes, sizes and colors – not just the familiar green, but  yellow, orange, and all shades in between.

Not to be outdone, potatoes also take many shapes and colors now,  and last but not least, onions and their many relatives fill more pages with their infinite variety.

Beans too have branched out, into the yellows and purples, but the lowly pea has stayed true to its nature and remained bright green, though of various sizes. Lettuce still is dominated by greens, but sports an infinite variety of leaf shapes.

I have not even gotten to the cucumbers, squashes, carrots, beets and other  less frequently planted vegetables.

But just looking over this mouth-watering assortment is enough to take my mind off the weather outside and to realize that once again, the old saying that ”if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” is still true.

Maybe soon I can start to think about the flowers I want to raise in my back yard …

But for now, we can all watch the snow fall and dream of our gardens, as we would like them to be … soon.

Be there! Monday! Memorial candle-light vigil for Worcester’s homeless …

Remember the Homeless Persons Who Have Died at event, Monday, December 21
An event to remember those homeless and formerly homeless area residents who died over the last year…
Homeless Person’s Memorial Day is an annual event commemorated in more than 150 cities and counties across the United States on the first day of winter.

Building on the theme of “remember, hope, and heal,” the event will feature a ceremony honoring the persons, homeless and formerly homeless, who died in the past year.

The event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.
WHO: Homeless advocates, service providers, homeless and formerly homeless persons, religious leaders, concerned citizens, city representatives
WHAT: Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day candlelight procession and memorial service
WHERE: Candlelight Procession begins at Community Health Link’s HOAP, 162 Chandler St., and ends at Mt. Sinai Church, 63 Wellington St.
WHEN: Monday, December 21:

Candlelight Procession: 5:45 p.m.

Memorial Service: 6:30 p.m.
Advocates, service providers, homeless and formerly homeless people, religious leaders, and concerned citizens will honor the lives and dreams of homeless men and women who died this year in the Worcester area.

More than 35 homeless and formerly homeless persons who lost their lives this year will be remembered. Since 1990, groups such as HOAP’s Consumer Advisory Board have hosted National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day events across the country on the first day of winter to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness and to remember our homeless citizens who have died. 
Amy Grassette, one of the event’s organizers, said: “We use this occasion to call on all our fellow community members and all Americans to recommit ourselves to ending homelessness. While we seek economic solutions for our country, we cannot forget our most vulnerable citizens.”

For the birds!


Chef Joey loves feeding everybody – including the birds!

From Chef Joey:

Feeding the birds is cathartic and it provides a beautiful background setting. Just look out your window and enjoy the loveliness! February is National Bird Feeding Month and, believe it or not, peanuts are a great way to get even more birds into your back yard!

Blue Jays automatically know when there are peanuts in the shell! BOOM! They are there! Of course, setting out bird feeders is an open invitation to squirrels, too, but there are bird feeders out there that dispense peanuts and are squirrel-proof!

Make sure your peanuts are unsalted!

Be consistent, and soon you will see other birds in addition to the Blue Jays. Fine feathered friends like … woodpeckers, cardinals, sparrows, finches and chickadees!

Make sure you keep your feeders clean. As with dampness, mold can form on them. As harmful as mold is to humans, it is the same for our feathered friends!

Suet feeders near a window also create a beautiful nature-scape and are very inexpensive. I have a red crested woodpecker that adores my feeder and he dines there quite often!

This time of year is crucial for these little guys – so spend a little and enjoy a lot!

You can go online and have a bird guessing contest with your family. It’s fun and you may learn something new!


Give wildlife a boost. While it’s best to provide natural sources of food and shelter for birds by planting flowers and trees that produce seeds and berries, birds may need an extra boost during the winter, when they are burning extra calories to keep warm.

Use a blend of seeds that includes oiled sunflower seeds, which are high in calories.

Remember to stop the feeding when the weather warms up. An artificial food source causes wild animals to congregate in unnaturally large numbers in areas where they may be welcomed by some, but not others, and it can also make them easy targets for predators. Eventually, they may lose their ability to forage for food on their own entirely.

If you venture out to feed the ducks at a nearby pond or the gulls at the beach, do not feed them bread or corn. These foods don’t have enough nutritional value for wintertime eating. The best thing to feed ducks and gulls during the winter is dry dog or cat food. The birds love it! And the fat in it will help them stay warm, as well as replenish the water-repellent oil in their feathers.

Love, love, love

By Edith Morgan

What is so hard about treating our fellow humans with love and compassion? We have special holidays set aside to do it, one day at a time – why can it not become a habit?

I have been very fortunate to have nearly always been treated with love and kindness, though I am no more deserving than others. So, why me? I think I know the secret: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – the famous phrasing which has, in so many nations and cultures, been repeated with minor variations, and has come to be known as “The Golden Rule.”

And in most of my life, I have found that the practice of that rule works over 99 per cent of the time. Those of us who assume that most normal humans respond to kindness, politeness, generosity, caring, warmth, and compassion usually treat others – be they family , neighbors, or strangers – that way.

How do we learn to behave this way?

The hints are all around: at the most basic level, who among us has not heard a parent or teacher or religious leader say: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything? “ or some variation such as “bite your tongue,” or one of my favorites: “Put your brain in gear before you run your mouth”?

We all could at least try to practice the famous advice of doctors: “First do no harm.” Then, consider the advice of so many bumper stickers that enjoin us to practice random acts of kindness. How hard is that?

The last week of January, which dumped over thirty-four inches of snow on us all at once was a great opportunity to practice acts of kindness, and I am very pleased to say that my neighbors came through with flying colors: both my husband and I are 84, and he is preparing to undergo a hip replacement, so neither of us was in shape to do much shoveling. Yet when the snow stopped falling, and our cars were buried in drifts of powdery white, we heard the unmistakable sound of shoveling and the put-putting of snowblowers very near. Patrick, Bill, Charlie, Joe and neighbor McCarthy with his snowblower all showed up to dig us out.

Our own snowblower still sits dormant in the shed, having suffered some sort of mechanical problem in its transit from Long Island to Massachusetts. But you can be sure that by the next snowstorm, it will be put to use to get around the neighborhood and return the favors shown to us.

And so we celebrated Valentine’s Day several days ago. Here’s hoping, it was for you more than just an occasion to exchange cards, bake red and white cupcakes, give and get bouquets of roses, bottles of wine, maybe even get/give jewelry and perfume – or dinner out.

I hope it was the opportunity to really begin (or continue) our practice of “random kindness” – I have experienced it several times already, from strangers too , who hold open doors, pick up things we drop, smile and let us get in front of them in line. Let us make a turn in front of them at a busy intersection – all small acts of kindness that brighten someone’s day.

I appreciate that I live in a city and neighborhood where these things happen all the time.