15.3.12

Day 330. The Enterprise Ones.

So, its fun when a title comes easily.

A week or so ago, Stephen and I took a much needed long weekend away. We headed down to the Florida Keys - the only point in me telling you this is so that you understand we needed a rental car. Now, for those of you who have traveled, you may share our feelings that the rental car experience is often the last, most frustrating thing sitting between you and your intended activities. The rental car process by nature is often dry, financially focused and rote (oh and sticks you in a gross garage for most of it). Often we feel like we can't fully exhale till we are out of the garage and on the road headed to our destination...

So imagine our surprise, when we went to go pick up our car from Enterprise car rental and our vacation began immediately. From the minute we met with the first representative at the rental counter, she was funny, built a relationship with us, was engaging and ever so pleasant. That alone would have been enough, but then we headed out to get our car...we were immediately warmly greeted by another representative who walked us to our car, talked to us about possible options on our rental, again, engaged us in a conversation that wasn't just rehearsed small talk, oriented us to our car, loaded our bags and got us on our way.

Stephen and I experienced the whole thing with awe...and, before we even left the parking spot we were happy and in a great mood. We remarked on the customer service we received throughout our trip, and, we kinda expected that it was a fluke (maybe we just got the "nice reps" or "it was a good day") until we returned the car and had an equally kind, professional and service oriented experience.

Now Stephen will tell you that he picked Enterprise because they used a Rusted Root song in their commercial. I will tell you that price also had a lot to do with it. But we will both now tell anyone who will listen about how great the service was that we received (having just picked up another rental car from another company yesterday, yes, so far, its just Enterprise doing this ;))

I've done some looking into if this is some new corporate initiative or marketing strategy and it isn't - or at least its not been trumpeted - which is equally impressive since so many companies will often tout their "its all about the customer"or "we do this for YOU" or "revamped service - new and improved" as a way to draw in customers. So, since I can't find if this is a new corporate culture, initiative or otherwise, I obviously can't specifically acknowledge whomever began this consistent tone of service at Enterprise. But, whoever you are, and all those wonderful representatives we worked with on our recent trip, I salute you. You're making a difference, and in turn, you've got some folks who are now Enterprise customers for life. Well done.

6.3.12

Day 329. The Thought-FULL One.

Hey! Hey there! Yep! Still around...life just getting in the way. But sometimes you have to stop and make time for things like posting here...this post is about a friend of mine who I have wanted to write about for a while now but feared that words would fail me. So - let's make a deal...however great you think this guy is after reading this post, magnify it times 10, and then you might be close.

I'm writing about Matt Wagner. Matt is another person I met through my hockey affliction...and at first, I knew him only as one of the key writers over at the Cannon. But it was easy to recognize Matt right away. He has this gift, you see, to always be thoughtful and measured in how he approaches things and communicates things. Every time he writes something, I find my initial reaction is almost always "ohmigosh, EXACTLY!!!!" As someone who is rather emotional and often "over the top", Matt inspires me to be careful and diligent in my evaluation of all things and careful in how I communicate so that my words don't make me look like a dolt ;). [still working on that last one]

Then I got to meet Matt and get to know him a bit, I have to say, it was a little bit of a "celebrity" moment for me. I had such tremendous respect for Matt already it was cool to spend time getting to know him. Matt is so so many things - he is always nice, he's smarter than most anyone - the guy can remember almost all the stats of a hockey game and churn out a game recap with zero notes and after acting like a total fan the entire game - sometimes before I'm even home from the arena. Speaking of games, Matt is also talented - standing next to him during the national anthem is truly a treat - not only can he sing, but he harmonizes, I mean come on, man!!!

There is also so much more to Matt. He has taken on a huge personal journey and dedicated himself to it far longer than I think I have to many of my personal goals. He's humbly and persistently put forth the hard work to see his way to the finish line - and he gets closer every single day - and, what's even better? He shares his accomplishments so that we may all celebrate with him. Which, to do so, without ego is quite a gift - another trait I'd love to be able to build within myself.

And then there's that old adage, that those you surround yourself with tell you a  lot about a person. Well, Matt's amazing fiancee Morgan only reinforces how cool Matt is. To see them together is awesome - they giggle, flirt, communicate, and share life in every living breathing second. They're getting married soon and its been outstanding to watch them build towards this exciting time and life together.

So, that is my friend Matt. Like I said, he's better than I can even express - and he compels me to want to be more thoughtful and more FULL of thought in all aspects of my life. Matt - you rock.

21.1.12

Day 328. The Nittany One.

I'm kicking myself right now. I'm kicking myself because the point of this blog is to recognize people NOW, in the present for being and/or doing good - not to wait until its too late. And, unfortunately, this post is triggered by reports of the subject being in poor health and potentially near death (implied).

I want to recognize Joe Paterno.

If that hasn't already triggered an emotional reaction in you - one way or another - I'd be surprised. And that's why I shied away from this post before. The past few months have been too charged with horrible, unforgivable allegations involving many people - a lot of which have yet to be definitely sorted out. And ALL of which are of those most non-defensible nature.

In the spirit of full disclosure, my husband is a Penn State graduate and, through him, I have met many Penn State alumni. But that is part of what informs this post. One of my husband's most prized possession is a photo of him with JoePa during his undergraduate years. For years, the Penn State alumni I have known have hung their hats - and moral compass - not on a football record, but on values of integrity, reputation and education. They have revered JoePa not because of how many football games he won or lost, they revered him because of the challenge he laid out in terms of who a person should be.

JoePa has inspired countless alumni in a similar manner - even those who did not like him at all during their college years. LaVar Arrington, whose issues with JoePa were long and well documented, has hailed the man's character and impact on people.

You see, JoePa came to Penn State in the 50's (yes you read that right) and never left. He had offers from the NFL, other premiere college programs and he remained with Penn State. Loyalty. JoePa never once succumbed to materialism - living in the same house he lived in with his wife since the day he moved. With all the money he made, JoePa donated MILLIONS (and that is not an exaggeration) to academics. Libraries and an education foundation were the main recipients of his hard earned dollars. Similarly, the Penn State football team boasts the highest graduation rate in all of college football. Not the Big Ten, not division I-A, all of college football. JoePa always looked to tradition and standards before "wins" or "fame". And, in this day and age, JoePa stayed with the same job, the same wife, and the same focus on what matters for decades.

I could rattle of stats to you all day long about his coaching prowess, BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. JoePa made a difference in how tens of thousands of young men and women lived their lives. JoePa set standards that far superseded the game. I honestly don't have words to articulate the impact this man has had on people I admire today for who they are, not for what they do (or how many games they won.)

Sadly - many never knew all this or never paid attention. To my husband's credit, when the awful allegations surfaced this fall he scoured all the reports, all the media, all the articles. He took the time to see what was proven, and what was not. He was responsible enough to inform himself - and believe me that was painful enough - and even he said "JoePa has to step down". But what JoePa didn't deserve was to have the media beatdown that ensued by so many who never knew the man, and didn't take the time to do so. I will not debate this case. I will not mention the jackface whose actions permanently soiled Penn State and proved many men to be of lesser character than we thought. I will simply say that i am saddened tonight to see so many who were vehement in their condemnation of JoePa suddenly turn with thoughts of concern for him...only because reports are surfacing that his health has failed.

We knew this would happen - Stephen has said for years that JoePa feared he'd end up like Bear Bryant - one of his dear friends - who died January 26th after retiring from the game at season's end. What's sad about it, is that he dies hearing only the worst of what he might have done. He dies hearing only negative about a career that spans decades.

I know many of you may have valid and strong reactions to any sort of praise going towards JoePa. And I respect that. I've had a ton of conversations about this - and noone comes out looking good, that's for sure. This is what I'm writing about: the fact that tonight I am saddened to see people only look to consider him as a complete man (and not just a man of three months of media reports) and a complete life only in his supposedly final days. I once again renew my request to you to look at those in your life and find the positive ways they impact you every day. Then tell them. Perhaps that would have helped our society temper the evaluation of these horrible acts in all of Happy Valley fairly, and it would have let JoePa know that, even if the numbers have dwindled, he is still loved.

Disclaimer: again, I recognize the horrific acts that have been alleged. This post in no way absolves, or accuses, JoePa. It is almost impossible to articulate one's opinions on this case once you read how many people let down these children. I simply note tonight one man who did a lot of good. Charges and *proof* are still forthcoming - as acknowledged by many.

24.11.11

Day 327. The Interim One.

With apologies to non-college football fans....Let's get the basics out of the way.
  1. This is the final regular season game of Ohio State College Football
  2. This is MICHIGAN Week. (only the most storied rivalry in college football history)
  3. Rumors are seemingly now fact that Urban Meyer will be taking over as OSU head coach
  4. You're all shocked that I have posted three times in two weeks ;)

So who do I write about today? Its Mr. Luke Fickell. Again, down to brass tacks. Clearly, Luke is not yet 100% ready to coach a perennial BCS contending, Big Ten team. And, not only to satiate the rabid Buckeye fans around the nation, but also to satisfy promises made to 18 year olds who are convinced they will play in the NFL, Mr. Fickell seemingly is not the long term solution right now for the Ohio State program.

But here's what I know. Luke stepped up to a job that was not all that attractive. The program was in turmoil, players were decommitting, our integrity was shattered and we had all of a matter of weeks to name a head coach before the business of the season was at hand. As an alumni, a former player, and a guy who gets what Buckeye football is supposed to be about, Luke Fickell stepped up to the job. He was the easy out for the administration, I don't doubt he knew it, and he stepped up.

Those who know him say he knew he didn't have the talent of previous years. And he knew he didn't have head coaching experience (duh!). But he walked into the fire willingly. He stayed with the program, took a humbling tag of "interim head coach" (i.e. dead man walking) and did what he could with a team that didn't necessarily sign on to play for him. He took the job with the skill set that he had available. While the Buckeye's record this year isn't one of our best, Luke has been a good face of the program. He's matured in his role, he's grabbed the responsibility with both hands, and, again by all accounts, remained a man of character and integrity.

So now, on Thursday of Michigan week, when Mirror Lake jumps, and gold pants get the occasional mention, all the talk is about Urban Meyer.

To the Urban-ites I say be quiet. If just for three days. Win or lose, Luke Fickell has earned the right to live out this week as Head Coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. He knows what this means - he's lived it. Give him this moment. Respect that he stepped up when the pickings were slim and he did so with the honor and integrity that this Ohio State program so desperately needed.

Let us celebrate the new head coach deservedly (if and when it happens) but let it wait till Sunday.

Because this is Ohio State Football. And this season, win or lose, Luke Fickell did all he could to try and live up to what that is supposed to mean. And for that, sir, you deserve our thanks and appreciation.

Go Bucks! Beat Blue!

22.11.11

Day 326. The Journalist One.

A random fact about me. I am not much of a fan girl. When I was little, and everyone else wanted to be person X, or date person Y (wherein person X and Y are clearly famous people), I never had that urge. There were a lot of people I liked, but as far as I can remember, there wasn't anyone who I really just held up in this huge feeling of awe...

That's pretty much held true throughout my life. With a few exceptions. And one of those is Steph. I first found Steph as the writer for The Other Paper, our local go-to independent paper, where she wrote about quite a few things - including sports, namely hockey. Now, those of you who know me, can imagine that this is like my dream job, so to see a woman doing this job so amazingly was just one of those "wow" moments.

Steph also was approachable. She didn't just put the news out there, she is on the Twitter and was ready to interact with everyone in a genuine and enthusiastic way. In a way that screams this is one. Cool. Chick. (Oh and she's a workout geek like me...so there's that!)

And then I had the chance to see Steph in person at a CBJ fan event. And let's just say, gorgeous. And she's got that whole "I'm comfortable with myself" and "I'm happy to be here in this moment" thing going on. So, in a lapse of total fan-geekiness as I had never known, I called her out in my blog about the event calling her my super secret media crush.

And then...

Imagine my shock when all of a sudden, Steph tweets about being my super-secret media crush. I was in my kitchen and I literally almost died. I stopped mid sentence talking to my husband. From there, again, to credit of who Steph is we started getting to know each other. Every tweet of hers to me is such a nice little moment in my day. She has supported me sometimes when she knows she has, sometimes when she doesn't know she has. She intentionally carved out moments to meet me in person when I know she had a million other things going on and it meant the world to me to see her just for a second and share a smile and a laugh.

A few months ago, Steph changed her life in ways that she had to to live the life she wants to have had in all facets of her life. I'll leave that story to her words and only say that from what I know of this woman, this makes me adore her even more.

Steph - you inspire me to know that being what I want to be can be balanced with doing what's right. And you remind me every day that life is the fun of which you make it...no matter what it presents to you.

Happy birthday to you girl - you're still my not-so-secret media crush its just that now I know even more reasons why you rock!

16.11.11

Day 325. The Considerate Ones.

Been a while...let's just dive right into it, shall we?

So, through my continued support of my hockey team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, (currently dead last in the league thank you very much :-/ ) I've had the opportunity to meet quite a few amazing people. Many of whom will pop up on here but I want to be keen to the fact that this is not a hockey blog (that happens elsewhere ;) )

But there are two people who I'd like to introduce you to in particular. And they are my friends Chad and Vanessa.  I first connected with Chad via twitter, and, when the Jackets started training camp (of course during a weekend that I was out of town) I was lamenting how I would miss getting one of the cool t-shirts they were handing out. Well, wouldn't you know that Chad let me know after the fact that he had grabbed me one. I thought that was particularly kind of him, and was super excited to meet him, and his wife, in person at the opening game to get my shirt.

It should be no surprise to you that Chad and Vanessa are simply lovely. They are the kind of people that the minute you meet them you know they are good people. Funny, smart, generous - you could tell instantaneously.

I've now had the chance to visit with them a few times - however briefly - at CBJ games at which we're all in attendance. Even if we don't get to talk a lot, I always love to see both of them, (great smiles on this pair) and visit.

This past week, they pushed my appreciation over the top. Looong story short, a friend and I were coordinating a project that involved a poster that needed to get from me to her across two hockey games - except I was out of town the first game, and she was in Cincinnati for the second. So, total last minute style, I'm literally sitting on the plane DM'ing all three parties during the first game saying basically "hey, I know this is zero notice but would you be willing to carry with you a large awkward poster for 2/3 of a game, keep it for a couple days, and then bring it back to another game until I can get it from you?" Well, wouldn't you know, to no surprise Chad and Vanessa agreed.

Last night-in addition to my hugs, I got from Chad and Vanessa the poster in question, as well as some of the giveaways that they had had at the Saturday night game (which had been a topic of conversation! :) ). Now, in this case, what gave me such pause was not the act of getting the "things" but the effort that people are willing to put into being inconvenienced for another. Let's be clear, sporting events are not the type of thing that you take a large bag or purse to. So, to carry large items, particularly like a poster that can't be crushed, or folded, or held in a truly easy way, AND to even consider giving up some of the giveaways that YOU received to someone else...oh and bring them back three days later to that person (let alone remember to bring them!) well that's the mark of some truly thoughtful and kind people.

I often have talked about how finding the "good in people" can be a lighthouse to us throughout days where we are faced with politics, interpersonal problems, frustrations and negativity. For me, and in the even more specific interest of facing a team that's not so good, I honestly would go to every game just to see these two. I am thankful to, through the randomness of sport and twitter, have met such nice nice people. And it makes me happy to know that people like this exist in the world.

While it may seem of little consequence to bring me a poster, a t-shirt, a hat, a device for fraud  a credit card reader (LOL), it is the kindness and selflessness of Chad and Vanessa that always stick with me, because its about so much more than "the stuff".

You guys rock! :)

8.9.11

Day 324. The Like Minded One.

Well hello there...obviously, my posts are still sparse and, dang it, I've got to finish this project. The thought has been looming with me all week about who I will write about this Sunday...the 10th anniversary of 09-11, which, as you may know, as a resident of DC during that day, hit me very hard...and, coupled with the fact I've had to mark that day twice already on this blog (so NOT my plan) has made Sunday hang with pressure to do something right but not cliche...and then, in general, I've been questioning "why am I NOT writing about this person or that person" and I feel like I'm over-thinking who I talk about here, but then, on days like today, I'm reminded, that the little moments when I come across someone to write about, while fewer and far between, make the decision easy...I kinda just know...so here we go...

Many of you know that I am hockey fan, and, many of you - non-hockey fans included - may have  heard about the tragedy yesterday when a plane carrying the an entire KHL hockey team crashed...killing everyone on board, save for 2 people who are in the hospital - wiping out an entire hockey team, and devastating countless fans and far too many families.

There has been much coverage of this crash, from almost every possible angle, many remembrances - sharing of grief - and commemoration of those we lost. And I didn't feel smart enough to write something new that hadn't already been said far more eloquently...but then I came across another blog post.

I don't know this author, and, to be honest, don't know anything about her other than what's in her about page. But she seems to be cool (chicks who like sports are usually cool ;) ), and she wrote this post. She tells about her experience as a limo driving picking up the family of one of the players killed in the plane crash, taking them to the aiport to fly to Europe, and the impact it had on her...and the lesson this taught her about children in our lives.

And - for some reason, the light bulb came on in my head. Maybe its that my great friends Tobin and Lisa had their first baby, Emma, this past weekend and I got to hold her for a wonderful hour yesterday so the preciousness of little ones is on my mind; maybe its this whole 9-11 thing that makes my emotions go cuckoo every year; or maybe its just that this woman echoed once again the belief that fuels this entire blog - but this time, from the perspective of being a parent and loving on our children.  She writes:


"Just make sure they know what they mean to you. Remind them EVERYDAY. Hug them EVERYDAY. Kiss them EVERYDAY. Most importantly, love them EVERYDAY. Unconditionally. Because, you never know what tomorrow will bring."

That's all I've ever hoped people would do...and when you find someone else who sees the value in letting people who mean something to you know that NOW, well it kinda is like a love letter to my soul. So, in the shadow of such a devastating event, and with the upcoming memorials to the many lost that have been occurring and will culminate this weekend of another devastating event, I want to recognize this writer for "getting it" and being just one more voice asking all of us to not wait to tell people in your life that they are good and why. Its the ultimate gift - its the easiest to give - it can make all the difference in the world.

23.8.11

Day 323. The Small Town One(s).

We've all grown up with some verion of the idyllic "small town", right? Whether it came from watching "Leave it to Beaver", "Back to the Future" or some story or magazine, it's quite a bit of Americana to think of a town with a "Main Street" where everyone is nice and everyone knows each other and nothing bad happens...

But then we grow up and we develop some (necessary) self-protective measures and we realize the reality - good and bad - of the world. But, as I've taken on cycling in the past few years, and had to find remote (read: no cars driving me off the road) long stretches of road on which to train, I've found some of these hidden gems around the Columbus area. And, as I pedal through, the images call up those happy dreams of "small towns" - american flags on every light post on 4th of July...town picnics...but I had kinda come to think of it all as a facade. I mean, I didn't think people were mean or anything but, I figured nothing was as good as it seemed. I'm jaded.

Until last Saturday.

I was biking - a good ride - a motivated ride - where I planned on being out for hours. I'd gone about 45 miles out in twisty, turny remote paths and was headed back for the last big chunk when POP! Yep - pop went my wheel - with enough force to blow through the actual tire and cause me to fall (on my gear side) and mess up my chain and remove the ability to shift. (And no, this will not be the time we all comment on how much more I should know about my bike...I can change a flat but the gears were above me...)

So, at 10 in the morning, down I sat, in a random person's front yard, in Ostrander, Ohio. This should be no problem, I thought, I'll just call Stephen and he'll come get me. Well - without too much detail because, to be clear - I'm not blaming anyone - I couldn't get Stephen, couldn't get my parents, and was hesitant to call other friends and ask them to take an hour out of their weekend to come get me and my greasy bike; so I sat in that front yard.... for TWO HOURS.

And in that time, plenty of cyclists sped past, and only one asked if I was OK (so much for all those genial waves we offer each other as we pedal past). Yet every single car stopped to check on me...
"Are you OK?"
"Can I take you to the gas station?"
"Do you need anything?"
"I live right down the road - can I help?"
"Anything you need?"

Even a woman came out of her house..."I saw you out here, are you OK? You're welcome to sit on my front porch"

Now initially, my urban reflexes kicked in - don't talk to strangers, don't get in cars you don't know, people have bad intentions...and I politely brushed people aside "Oh thank you but I'm ok, just waiting to get my husband to come get me, I'm fine, thanks!" (Subtext - thanks but no thanks, you can go now)

But as the time passed, and more and more people expressed concern, even though I still chose to wait on family - and thanks to my mom who eventually was able to come get me! - I allowed myself to really appreciate how nice it was for so many to stop and ask if they could help...because I really believe that they meant it. And my responses became more prolonged "thank you so much, I really appreciate you checking on me..." instead of excusing them away, because, seriously, how nice of someone - to stop and check in. And so many people! Isn't this what we all hope? That if we're in need of help - big or small - someone will come to our aid?

"Small town America" does exist - and perhaps not only in small towns, but the generosity, concern for a fellow person, and willingness to help one another is certainly alive and well in Ostrander, Ohio. And although I don't even know a single name of a person who stopped Saturday...I thank each of them for being so kind to someone they will never even know. I'll just be that girl, riding through early weekend mornings, but to anyone I see, I will smile and wave....

2.8.11

Day 322. The More Than a Writer One.

The universe is funny. This blog's been on my mind lately..."haven't posted in a while" "I'm becoming too cynical" "does anyone care" "well I have to at least finish this thing..." Then, I went to a baby shower where the hosts asked that we bring a favorite children's book instead of a card - and I had no other option pop into my mind than "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein.

Then, today, my friend, Tim, posted THIS on Twitter and thus ensued a whole discussion and sharing of quotes by Shel Silverstein. And all of a sudden, my entire childhood was flooding back to me. And I dove into the "official" Shel Silverstein site (beautiful by the way - to me, totally encapsulates Shel - check it out). And I found the copy of The Giving Tree online, and I read it again. And I looked at Tim's image, and read it again. And I remembered so much...and thus, a blog entry is born.

I remember The Giving Tree being one of the first books my parents gave me. One of the first I could read on my own. It had a coveted spot on my bookshelf. And I remember my grandmother giving me all of the Shel Silverstein poetry books..."Where the Sidewalk Ends", "A Light In The Attic", "The Missing Piece", "The Missing Piece Meets the Big O" and on and on. And I loved them all. Passionately. I still have every original copy given to me. Later tonight, I think I'm going to re-read them all.

Because, these books were REAL. They weren't sugar coated "kids books". They weren't "Poetry" with a capital P. They were stories - that made you imagine, and realize others did and it was OK. Trees did talk to little boys; and if a nonsense word would rhyme in your poem, well use it; and images didn't have to be "pretty" to mean something. I lived in those books...and while, apparently, there was some controversy surrounding these books, (news to me!*) I think I sorta felt all those things that people questioned, but in a good way. It made it ok to think that people do die, or that some people give too much, or take too much or not enough. It let you know that the world was sometimes unfair, and painful but never in an "Afterschool Special" sort of way (shut up - they were on all the time when I was little - 4PM. ABC. I'm old.)

Now, sadly, I am writing this to Mr. Silverstein well after his death in 1999. And therefore, I am somewhat breaking the rules of this blog. But, if you believe, as many writers do, that their written words is how they stay alive, then - well maybe - I'm ok with this post. And, as Shel taught me, if I can imagine that, then its real within my world.

I can't imagine how many kids Shel's writings have touched - but I'm one of them. And they mean something to me not only because of the words on the page but because of all the memories wrapped up therein. I'm glad I had Shel's books as part of my childhood...and I'm glad they're still out there for kids to read. Regardless of your age, I implore you to go get one of his books and read it. Arguably you will find yourself transported - even if just for a moment. It may become more meaningful than you expected.

Thank you, Mr. Silverstein. Thank you so much.

*Sidebar: many of the links here are to wikipedia articles - the content of which was surprising to me to read given that I have had such a profound experience with Shel's books in my life. So, take them for what they are worth, but, as I said, do me a favor, go buy at least one of these books...read it...tell me what you think. That's OK...I'll wait. It will be worth it ;)

7.7.11

Day 321. The Meal One.

So. Many of us have been part of an experience where a group of friends and family band together to bring meals in support of another. Sometimes its the birth of a child, or a new home, but more often its sad experiences such as serious illness, death or another tragedy.  Sadly, I've been on both sides of this equation and  have seen the craziness that comes with this type of project. Be it, calling or emailing 15 different people 100 times (or more!) or ending up with someone not knowing if they got their "requested date" or ending up with four nights in a row of lasagne - the possibilities for confusion and tons of busy work are endless. Not to mention that in today's world, often our support structures are spread far and wide - sometimes even around the world.

Well - in the past 24 hours, we find ourselves once again in a situation that we were faced with offering support the only way we knew how - by offering the gift of food and love. It just so happened, that one very very smart friend within the circle of friends knew of this site: www.takethemameal.com. Much like Caring Bridge (and Facebook!) have eased the pain of having to communicate difficult news to a broad base, Take Them a Meal provides a way to coordinate taking of meals to someone needing support - it offers tips and tools to schedule meals for someone, recipe suggestions and even (for some geographic areas) the ability to order a meal directly from them to be sent to the recipient.

The idea is obvious once you see it in action - but genius because once you see it, you recognize how helpful it is and its one of those things where you can't believe noone thought of it earlier. You also (if you're me) can believe you didn't already know about this. So thus, this blog. I hope to spread the word about this great site. So far, I cannot find out exactly who is behind this service other than the friendly looking woman on the page and this About Us information. But I've sent them a note letting them know this post is coming.

Again, if you haven't been in this type of situation before, this post may sound silly, but, if you have - I'm sure you immediately recognize that this is one of those lovely instances where technology is truly being put to use to make people's lives better and easier, and in situations like this, allows all the people involved to focus on providing care - not on scheduling, coordinating, stressing and forgetting someone.

To the "Take Them A Meal" team - I say thank you. You are providing an invaluable service to so many.