Saturday, March 31, 2012
These random acts have allowed me the honor to interact with many different and inspiring people from all across the United States. What is even more overwhelming, and thanks to the speed and reach of social media, is that I have also been privileged to speak to and learn from people living in Australia, Tibet, Japan, the Ivory Coast, the UK, South Korea and many other places. If you would have told me as a child that I would have people that I could call friends in every corner of the planet, my mind would have exploded. I one day hope to take my wife and daughter to some of these places to meet up with my friends and perform kind acts in different locations. But for now, I can join along with millions of others across the globe to perform an act of kindness that will raise awareness so that we can protect our "home" for future generations. This evening, for my random act of kindness, I will turn off all of the lights in my home, and sit in the dark for one hour in observance of Earth Hour. Earth Hour was started by World Wildlife Foundation Australia in 2004 as a way to bring about awareness for the ever-growing problem of climate change. Since then, the movement has gone worldwide with over 130 countries participating with their own Earth Hour celebrations. So tonight, I am going to go against what Enrique Iglesias once told me, and turn off the lights.
Friday, March 30, 2012
When I first graduated from IU and started interviewing for jobs in California, I looked like a shlub. No tie. Doc Marten's. Cargo pants. I still have no idea how I was hired at my first job. I guess my personality outweighed the fact that I looked like a frat guy who rolled out of bed late for his 8AM class (truth be told: I would have just slept through said 8AM class). It would be a solid 6-8 months before I owned my first suit because at that time it was really hard to afford one.
After taking my first job as a recruiter, I started to realize that, for better or worse, appearance/clothes did have somewhat of an impact on whether or not someone would be hired. In an ideal world, people would be judged on their skill sets and qualifications, but that sadly isn't the case. Although the economy is markedly improving, there are still many people out there who remain unemployed, and many do not have the means to purchase clothing necessary for interviews. So today, for my random act of kindness, I will be donating one of my suits through a tremendous organization called Career Gear. The suit is still in great shape, and my hope is that it will help someone in their efforts to land a job. For any women out there who would like to donate suits or other interview clothes, there is a great group called Dress For Success that distributes clothes specifically to women. If someone gets a job because of clothing provided by the 366 Random Acts community then it will be Legen......wait for it.............DARY!
Thursday, March 29, 2012
As I have mentioned many times on this blog, my wife is a teacher here in Chicago. She takes tremendous pride in how hard she works to ensure that her students are at grade level in each of their subjects, and prepared to advance on in school. I see all of the effort that she puts in to each and every child in her classroom, and while she works extremely hard for the children, a teacher can only do so much. It is up to the parents to have an active role in the educational lives of their children outside of the classroom. Lindsey has been blessed with a number of parents who see this and work to ensure that their children's learning doesn't end at 3:30 in the afternoon.
Recently, Lindsey told me a story about one such set of parents. They are extremely supportive of the education of their daughter, and it shows as she is one of the top performing students in my wife's classroom. At home, the mom preaches the importance of education to her children as she understands what it takes for a child to be successful. One of the ways that she helps further her children's learning at home is by printing off fun and creative homework assignments. However, a few weeks back, the family's printer broke, and they don't have the disposable income to purchase a new printer. Lindsey has told me time and time again how much of an impact these assignments have had on her student's education, and we have been trying to figure out a way that we could help. We have a perfectly fine printer sitting in our house that we rarely use, and recently, I received a printer from my company for use in my home office. Rather than take out my aggressions on our old printer, for today's random act of kindness, we will be donating it to the family of my wife's student. They definitely deserve it for all that they do to ensure the success of their kids in the classroom and beyond.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Although Isla can't speak, she has been giving me looks and making sounds that tell me that she wants to be more involved in the random acts. I have deciphered her "goos" and "gahs" and believe that she is trying to let me know that she is a big girl now, and since she is growing at such a fast rate, would like to donate the clothes she has outgrown to the less fortunate. So Isla and I jumped on the computer, and with the help of Donation Town, were able to find an organization here in Chicago called Sunlight of The Spirit that accepts used baby and children's clothing. Isla will be donating a great amount of outfits, socks, and shoes that she hopes will help out a few families out there.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
About a month ago, while walking around the Chicago loop during my work day, I noticed a homeless man walking barefoot. I instantly went to the nearest store that carried shoes, and bought him a pair. Unfortunately, the man's feet were so swollen and bloodied that he informed me that he needed a special pair of shoes located at too far of a distance for me to walk. I told him that I would find him on the weekend and we would go get the shoes. Sadly, I haven't been able to find him on any of the subsequent weekends, but if I do, I fully intend to get him shoes. It has actually been eating me up thinking that someone is walking around with no shoes. Then I started thinking about how many people both in the US and world wide that either have no shoes, or inadequate shoes, and suffer because of it. What compounded my feelings, and made me feel even worse, is that I took a look in my closet and noticed that I had a number of pairs of shoes just sitting there not being worn. Continuing with this week's theme of donating things from around the house, and for today's random act of kindness, I will be donating shoes to Share Your Soles. SYS is a non-profit organization here in Chicago that, for the past 13 years, has been providing donated shoes to impoverished people both here and abroad. There are a number of great organizations similar to Share Your Soles all around the United States and overseas, so if you find yourself with an overabundance of shoes (like Imelda Marcos, DJ Pauly D, or my wife), and would like to donate them, you can find a place with ease.
Monday, March 26, 2012
When I was going through my t-shirts yesterday, and decided that I was going to donate them, it got me thinking about what else I had around the house that could be easy to donate. So the theme for my random acts this week is going to be to take everyday household items and to donate them to different causes. I am sure there are plenty of organizations or people who could use things that we all barely use, never use or even appreciate the importance of.
One of the biggest challenges for animal shelters is to try to make animals feel at home and comfortable with their surroundings. There was a study done by The Compassion Action Institute in New York City which found that animals who were given used blankets and towels seemed to be more relaxed, happy and secure in their surroundings. Having an animal that is more relaxed and personable dramatically increases the chances that the dog or cat will be adopted. So today, for my random act of kindness, I am going to be donating some of my family's used blankets and towels to the local animal shelter/adoption facility. Although I would like to, I know I can't adopt all of the dogs and cats there, so I will try to do my part to ensure that they end up in a home as soon as possible. If you have any new or used blankets that are just sitting around, collecting dust, I bet an animal shelter near you could use them.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
As my wife can attest, I am somewhat of a hoarder when it comes to t-shirts. Any concert, sporting event, or charity gathering that I go to, I always get a t-shirt. My dresser drawers don't even properly close anymore because they are bursting with t-shirts. I can say with conviction that I probably haven't worn a good 30% of the shirts that I have. Rather than have the shirts sit there and collect dust, I decided to put them to good use. Today, for my random act of kindness, I sorted through 3 drawers worth of t-shirts, and am donating over 30 shirts to the Brown Elephant. I am still going to be keeping all of the shirts that I have collected from my random acts, but awesome shirts of the past such as "Get Lucky in Kentucky" and "Where Da Gold At?" are being to those who are in need.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
I have shaved my own head a couple of times in my life. Typically when I shave my head, it is for a sporting event. When Indiana made it to the Final Four in 2002, my friend's and I thought it warranted a head shave. When the United States tied England in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, again, I felt it necessary. There have been a few other times that, for seemingly no reason whatsoever, I shaved my head (once in college, it ended up looking like this for a week because of a bet). Each time, it was something fun to do, something wild to do, and usually something dumb to do, mostly because there was no meaning behind doing it. Well, today, for the first time, I am going to participate in some head shaving that has tremendous meaning behind it. Today, for my random act of kindness, I am going to shave someone else's head to honor Kyle Volek as part of a St. Baldrick's event. Since 2000, St. Baldrick's has grown from a small head shaving event put together by a couple of friends to the "world's largest volunteer-driven fundraising program for childhood cancer research." So much money has been raised by these events, and it is a great way to show solidarity with those who didn't have a choice in losing their hair. I have seen first hand the effects that cancer has on children and adults alike, so anything I can do to support this great cause, I will do. Due to future plans for my hair for a random act, I am not able to shave my own head just quite yet, but I will be sure to take great joy in shaving someone besides myself for a change. Although 366 Random Acts has already reached a personal team goal for fundraising, any additional donations will be HUGE!!! You can visit our team page here. Now I am off with clippers in hand!
Friday, March 23, 2012
Recently, I was asked by Suzanne Conley if I could come to Kelly High School here in Chicago, and speak to the students in the AVID program. I wasn't too sure what I was going to speak about because this was the first time anyone had asked me to present 366 Random Acts in this type of setting. Luckily, the kids couldn't have been more welcoming and interactive. I was asked some of the better questions I have been asked since starting this journey, and received some awesome random act suggestions (see you guys in April and May!). The students presented me with a T-Shirt that they had made for today (see below). The AVID program is "a college prep program that works with typically under-served students in the academic middle be successful in high school and reach their dreams of going to college." I could go on and on about how great these kids were and explain all the benefits of the AVID program, but I thought I would let the students explain AVID and what it means to them.
"AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a program trying to help kids get to college and be successful"
"It allows us to get involved in extracurricular activities to help us on our college applications and gain scholarships for college"
"AVID helps us become well-rounded students"
"We spend time working on speaking in front of groups"
"We do fundraising for a school in Africa, called Nyaka, that gives free eduction."
"AVID prepares you to be leaders inside and outside of school. It also helps us to inspire other teens to pay it forward"
"We take time to give back to the community through service"
"We are in charge of planning and scheduling AVID events."
"We are challenged to better read and interpret our schoolwork and problems rather than going for the quick answer."
"We don't consider AVID to be a program and a club. We are a family."
Today, these kids made me feel like I was a part of their family, and I look forward to working with them in the future to continue to pay it forward!
Thursday, March 22, 2012
I interact with a number of people within the customer service industry every single day. Whether it is calling the ZocDoc service team for help with my job, speaking to administrative assistants at the front desk of doctor's offices, or being helped out by an associate at a retail or grocery store, there are roughly 10+ times a day when I encounter someone in the customer service capacity. Typically, the response and help that I receive is above and beyond what my expectations are, but I don't think that I do a good enough job thanking people. So today, for my random act of kindness, I am going to ensure that people who provide me with great customer service know how thankful I am for them. Whether it is shooting an email over to them, thanking them in person, or letting their manager know what a great job they are doing, I am going to make sure that they get the accolades that they should. Too often, it seems that the only recognition people get from clients/customers is negative, so I would love to see that change.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I am sure by now you have heard the story of Trayvon Martin. For those who haven't, Trayvon Martin was a 17 year old boy who was murdered (and yes I will use the word murdered) in Sanford, Florida for being in the wrong place at the wrong time in front of the wrong person. I guess it is wrong of me to say the wrong place at the wrong time because he was simply walking to a convenience store nearby his father and step-mothers house. He had every right to be there. It isn't wrong of me to say that he was in front of the wrong person however. George Zimmerman, the self appointed head of the neighborhood watch, saw Trayvon, armed with nothing more than Skittles, iced tea and a thin 140 lb frame, and due to his own racism and stereotyping deemed him to be a threat. George, who isn't a police officer and was also told by 911 to stand down, took it upon himself to eliminate that "threat." Based on the evidence piling up, it seems that George decided he would get the jump on Trayvon, attacked him, and then shot him to death when Trayvon was simply trying to get away. To me, this seems like an open and shut case. However, for some reason, the "leadership" and police department of Sanford don't see it that way. They don't see the need to charge George Zimmerman with even the slightest of crimes. So for today's random act of kindness I am signing a petition that will demand justice for Trayvon Martin and hopefully save future innocent people from the shoot first, ask questions later process. Sorry to come off as somewhat aggressive with this post, but I simply cannot understand how this is happening. I just can't fathom that I live in a world where an innocent person can be murdered and there are no repercussions for the person who pulled the trigger when there is so much evidence stacked against them.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
This journey of mine started out as a small New Year's resolution that I thought might gain the following of my friends, family and a few strangers. I thought perhaps I might gain a couple of hundred followers to my blog, Twitter, and Facebook pages. Never in a million years did I think that my random acts would have been viewed by tens of thousands of people from over 160 countries. I don't say this to be a braggart by any means, but rather to acknowledge the reach that this blog now has. The reason I bring this up is because now I feel as though I have a responsibility to use this forum to help bring attention to people and groups that are doing things that have far more of an impact than I feel my random acts ever could. Afam Onyema is one of those people.
One of the coolest parts of my journey has been interacting with and learning about some incredible people in this world who are focused on bringing about positive change and are "others" focused. Afam Onyema is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School who passed on working at prestigious law firms to focus on using his knowledge and abilities to help others. Although we attended the same high school, I didn't personally know Afam Onyema until I was recently introduced by a mutual friend. After being introduced, I learned of the GEANCO Foundation that Afam and his father, Godwin, started in an effort to bring about medical and educational change in Godwin's home country of Nigeria. Their first major project, and a lifelong dream of Godwin's, is to build a modern hospital in the state of Anambra in the southeast region of Nigeria. So today, my random act of kindness is to raise awareness for GEANCO by asking those who read this blog to research this foundation, spread the word about it, and if you have the means, please donate towards the development of the hospital. Just as I could never have imagined the reach I had with a simple blog, just think of the impact you could have on others halfway around the world by simply posting a Facebook status or sending a tweet.
Monday, March 19, 2012
When I was at Indiana University for college, the things that I looked forward to more than anything were care packages and letters from home. Usually they consisted of snacks or treats that I really missed, but weren't available in Bloomington (or I was too poor to buy for myself). About every month or so, my mom would send me a care package, and it would be awesome because it made me feel like I was home. The tradition even continued when I moved to California when I would get sent things like White Sox stuff or giardinara (for some reason, it was impossible to find giardinara in the Bay Area).
While it always seemed like I was so far away, thinking about how far from home our troops are makes me realize that maybe I was a little spoiled. Being able to hear from people back home, even strangers, help these men and women get through some of the most insane living conditions and situations that anyone could bear. As you may or may not know, I have already sent a letter and a pizza to soldiers overseas, but I thought I would take it one step further. So today, for my random act of kindness, I registered for the Adopt A Soldier program. Through this program, I will be matched with one of our brave men and women overseas, and have the opportunity to send letters, care packages, etc. It is the least I could do for someone who risks their life to protect mine and my family's lives.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone! Although I can't be in Chicago today to see the river dyed green, I am still in the St. Patty's spirit here in California. So to keep in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, for my random act of kindness, I purchased a shamrock. At face value it doesn't look like much of a random act. If anything it is kind of self serving because I am just trying to bring myself good luck, right? Well, actually, this is a different kind of shamrock I purchased. The one that I bought goes to help the fight against muscular dystrophy. For the past 60+ years, the MDA has worked to bring about awareness and raise funds to try to come up with treatments and cures for over 40 different diseases of the nervous and muscular systems. So if you are out and about today (or want to buy one online) and see someone selling one of these shamrocks at local retailers, maybe try to help the fight against these horrible ailments! Oh, and one other thing....GO HOOSIERS!!!
Friday, March 16, 2012
Right now I am at the airport with my wife and daughter. We are about to board a plane to California for the memorial service for my father-in-law. It isn't going to be a funeral, but rather, a celebration of his life. Although it may be tough to say goodbye, we are going to spend the weekend remembering all of the memories and good times we spent with John. This is a rather short post because they just called for us to board, so here is my random act for the day. When we land, we are heading to a store nearby the hotel we are staying at, and I am buying white ribbons to give to my family. White ribbons signify lung cancer awareness (lung cancer is what John suffered from). It is just a small token, but one that I know will mean a lot.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
The custom of tying a yellow ribbon dates back to the first century to symbolize waiting for love or loved ones. Here in the United States, the custom dates back to the Civil War, but really gained popularity during World War I as a way for people to show support for our soldiers overseas. I can vividly remember when I was 10/11, the practice spreading all around my town during the Persian Gulf War. It is not secret that I am a huge believer in supporting and thanking our troops for all that they do to protect our freedoms and lives. Although there have been great efforts put in place to bring many of our troops home, there are still tens of thousands of troops that remain overseas. So, today, for my random act of kindness, I have decided to hopefully spark back up the practice of tying a yellow ribbon on trees outside of homes. The only issue that I have is that I don't have a tree. Luckily, I spoke with my mom and she said that I can tie the ribbon around the old oak tree (how cliche) at her house. Later this evening, I will head there and take care of my random act and hopefully everyone on her block sees it as a reminder to support our men and women who risk and give their lives for us.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I want to start out by saying Thank You to everyone that has emailed me with ideas for ribbons, pins, etc. I am going to try to take care of the time sensitive ones as soon as possible, but even if I am not able to include it in my blog, just know that I won't let a single one go without supporting the cause in some way. As always, if you have random act suggestions or ideas, please email me at 366RandomActs@gmail.com.
One of the emails that I received was from a woman named Kimberly who was reaching out on behalf of her friends. Her friends have a 2 year old son, Connor, that has suffered from a rare disorder, infantile spasms, since he was a baby. Connor has suffered from these spasms (which are essentially seizures), and the medicine he has been taking unfortunately hasn't had a profound effect. So in an effort to allow Connor the opportunity to develop on a more normal path, today he is undergoing surgery to remove 2 lobes of his brain that will hopefully lessen the severity of his spasms. Connor's family has created a purple ribbon to show support for their little guy, and today for my random act of kindness, I am changing my personal Facebook picture and the 366 Random Acts picture to the above ribbon supporting Connor. If it isn't too much trouble, I hope that maybe all of you might be able to do it for today as well. Not only is it a way to support Connor, but it is an effort to raise awareness for Infantile Spasms so that more can be done to eliminate this confounding and debilitating disorder.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Yesterday when I didn't buy my morning coffee and instead bought a pin to support FaceAIDS.org, it gave me an idea. This week is going to be pin/ribbon week. Every random act of kindness I am going to do today through Friday will in some way involve a pin or a ribbon that helps support a cause or brings awareness to a cause that may not be as public as others.
One of our blog followers recently reached out to me and made me aware of a woman named Nikki. Nikki gave birth to her baby boy, Collins, on May 18th, 2011. Sadly, due to an unknown lung condition that wouldn't allow Collins' lungs to grow, he passed away just 37 hours later. As a way to cope with the loss of her son, Nikki started Caps for Collins. In honor of Collins, Nikki knits hats for children in the NICU and for families being photographed by Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Nikki's (and her family's) strength through all of this is amazing. I couldn't even begin to imagine losing Isla because I almost broke down just at the thought of it.
With St. Patrick's Day right around the corner, Nikki's friends put together Clovers for Collins in an effort to raise money for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep in Collins' name and as a tribute/surprise for Nikki. I am a huge fan of St. Patrick's Day, and decided that for today's random act, I would purchase a clover pin for my daughter so that she will hopefully love it too (although not until she is like 25). I again decided to pass on my morning coffee and spent the $5 on the pin. I figured a little good luck is better than a little caffeine. If you would like to support Nikki in her cause, please visit the above links.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Last night, ESPN ran an amazing documentary called "The Announcement." The movie detailed the events surrounding Magic Johnson's announcement that he had contracted HIV. Typically every year on this night, I am busy creating a giant homemade bracket for the NCAA Tournament, but I just couldn't pull myself away from watching this movie. I felt so old because, although it was 20 years ago that he made this announcement, I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the fear surrounding the disease, but as a ten year old, I didn't fully grasp how terrible it was. Looking back, it is amazing to see the ignorance that we had on how the disease was passed along, and how Magic really shined a spotlight on it. Although there have been tremendous advances in fighting the disease in the 20 years since his announcements, HIV/AIDS still affects millions of people worldwide. In the United States alone, there are believed to be over 1 million people with HIV with almost 20% of those people unknowingly carrying the disease. The situation overseas is much more grim. In Sub-Saharan Africa, there is an estimated 23 million people that are living with HIV or AIDS. One of the saddest statistics is the staggering amount of children (3 million) that are either born with HIV/AIDS or acquire it from breast feeding. So today, for my random act of kindness, I am going to do my small part to help fight this terrible disease. I am going to bypass buying my morning coffee, and instead spend my $5 to purchase a pin from FaceAIDS.org. The proceeds from my purchase go towards providing the necessary medication to pregnant woman to help ensure the virus isn't passed along to their unborn children. So if you would like to join me in skipping your morning coffee today, please visit the website to either donate or order a pin. You will even receive a letter and a picture from the person overseas who made your pin!
Sunday, March 11, 2012
One of the reasons that I chose to do 366 Random Acts of Kindness was because I didn't want to do a traditional New Year's resolution like eat better or get in shape. I have made those resolutions before and quit them. It was a combination of laziness and a lack of accountability if I were to give them up. When I made my resolution to do the 366 Random Acts for my daughter, I knew that by doing so, I had to be committed to accomplishing each act. There was no way that I was going to "let down" my daughter so early in her life and set a terrible example.
The recent passing of my father-in-law really shook me. I saw how saddened my wife and mother-in-law were with his passing, and I really got upset thinking about if I suddenly were taken from Lindsey and Isla. I know that cancer is something that can affect even the healthiest of people, but I also know the lifestyle I am living isn't super healthy and in line with staying cancer free. I eat way too many processed, fatty and fast foods, I seem to always be going up for seconds, and I rarely (if ever) work out. Overall, I have just become a lazy blob. I feel horrible because I have been blaming a lack of exercise on my daughter coming into our lives. That all stops now. Today and moving forward, my random act of kindness is to get healthy for my wife and daughter. Since it is one of my random acts, it isn't something that I am allowed to fail at. Today, I am going to book a physical with a doctor on ZocDoc (shameless plug). In the next 90 days, I pledge to lose 22 pounds through eating right and exercising. I will then maintain that healthy lifestyle for them because there are a lot of things that we need to do as a family, and I refuse to miss them.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Sorry for the late post, but I just finished up today's random act with my wife and friends. Today, we participated in the Digging for Donna volleyball tournament that honors a local woman named Donna Barker, who lost her battle with cancer in 2004. The proceeds of our entry fee into the tournament go to benefit the Jennifer S Fallick Cancer Support Center in Homewood, Illinois. The Cancer Support Center provides free comprehensive resources that help improve the quality of life for those afflicted with cancer and their families. Their staff of clinical professionals helps cancer patients and their loved ones cope with the toll that having this terrible disease takes on them.
I don't believe I have played volleyball since I was in college, so I wasn't sure how I personally would do. Luckily, the tournament offered a "recreational" division for those who aren't avid volleyball enthusiasts. Our team made it to the semi-finals where we lost in the final game (it was a de facto championship because the other side of the bracket wasn't any good). I am somewhat competitive and was getting pretty fired up even for it being a "fun" event. Regardless of the outcome though, I am really looking forward to learning the amount that was raised during Digging for Donna because there were a bunch of teams participating. Apologies for the language, but cancer is a bastard and anything I can do to support the fight against it moving forward, I will do.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Today is my wife's 30th birthday. I am not exaggerating when I say that she doesn't look at day over 25. She is as beautiful now as the day that I met her. It is crazy to think back to the first birthday we shared together 6 years ago in Californa (it was a flu ridden disaster) and see where we are now married with a daughter. With all that has been going on lately, I want to do something to brighten up her birthday.
During college, Lindsey lived in Costa Rica on two separate occasions both studying abroad and for fun. In that time, she became addicted to the many different meals that her Costa Rican "mother" cooked for her. One of the things that she absolutely fell in love with was a dessert called Tres Leches (Three Milks) Cake. She always talks up how delicious this cake is, and whenever we are at a restaurant that offers it, there is no doubt she will order it. Today, for my random act of birthday kindness, I am going to attempt to cook her a Tres Leches cake that will hopefully be on par with the ones she has had in the past. This will still be a surprise to her because she typically doesn't get the time to read my blog until the night time. I will post a picture of my cake later to compare to the one above, but my guess is that it won't look anywhere near the same.
For those asking, here is the recipe. It came out perfectly.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9x13 inch baking pan.
- Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
- Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
- Combine the whole milk, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
- Whip whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated, enjoy!
Thursday, March 8, 2012
By now, I am assuming that you have heard about the Kony 2012 campaign that has taken over the internet. Whether or not you saw something on Twitter, read someone's Facebook post, or watched the above video, I am assuming most people have heard of this wretch of a man. Since the mid 1980s, Kony has been terrorizing regions of Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in an attempt to create a theocratic state for him to rule over. Kony's Lord's Resistance Army is primarily made up of children that are kidnapped from their families and forced to fight. These children are then brainwashed and made into savages that have been known to rape, murder, and cannibalize the people whose land they overtake.
Joseph Kony needs to be stopped. While I am against a huge military effort that will no doubt end up with the deaths of these previously innocent children, something needs to be done. Joseph Kony needs to be stopped. So today, my random act of kindness is to, along with tens of millions of others, is to pledge to spread the word to stop Joseph Kony. You can join the movement here.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
There are a number of different explanations as to the origin of Chicago being called The Windy City. Some believe it is due to "the hot air" spewed by politicians of the early 20th century, some believe it was created by Cincinnati newspapers because they thought Chicago was "full of bluster," and some believe it stems from the insane winds that we have year round here. Regardless of the origins, the name definitely suits the weather, and this was made apparent the past 2 days here in Chicago.
While we have been lucky to be experiencing 60 degree temperature in March, the wind over the past 48 hours has almost been gale force. I personally don't really mind the winds, but I do mind the overabundance of trash that has been blown out of trashcans all around the neighborhood. Some areas look like post-apocalyptic scenes from Terminator 2. So my random act of kindness today is to spend some time this evening cleaning up the streets. My wife and daughter are going to join me in picking up the trash in my neighborhood and weighing it down in trashcans so it won't blow back out. Wherever you are in the world, if you see some trash on the ground, go ahead and pick it up. I understand that it probably isn't yours, but if everyone did their part, just think about how beautiful we could make the world.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
One of the most vivid memories of my childhood is when my grandfather took me to swim with dolphins in a cove near Cancun, Mexico. Dolphins were my favorite animal growing up, and I couldn't believe that I would have the opportunity to swim with them. Holding on to their fins and allowing them to take me through the water was an incredible feeling, one that I will never forget. Not long after that trip, I lost my grandfather, but luckily he is always there when I remember our time swimming with the dolphins.
The dolphins that I swam with were wild dolphins that swam freely in and out of the cove into the Gulf of Mexico. Wild dolphins swim up to 40 miles per day in the wild, and need that sort of freedom to be healthy and survive. Unfortunately, for 2 dolphins named Sad and Lonely in Japan, that freedom is unattainable in their 24 x 24 foot tank. There is a movement to get these dolphins freed from their horrible conditions so that they may survive freely in the wild. Today, as my random act of kindness, I chose to sign a petition to free Sad and Lonely from the world's smallest dolphin tank. My hope is that enough people can sign this to free the dolphins back into the wild. If you get a chance, please sign the petition.
Monday, March 5, 2012
One of the things I have noticed about Montana is that there are barely any Starbucks here. Actually, now that I am writing this, I don't think I have seen a single one. There are, however, a bunch of really cool local drive thru espresso houses. I have been wanting to buy coffee for the next person in line at a drive thru for a while, but I haven't really come across a drive thru Starbucks in Chicago. Today, I got my opportunity with one of the local coffee shops. On our way to the airport in Missoula, we stopped by the Florence Coffee Company in Lolo, Montana. We ordered our coffee, and left extra money to pay for the order of the person behind us. I asked the person working there if they could let them know that I was doing a random act of kindness, and that if they wanted, they could then pay for the person behind them. I am hoping it started a chain and that people kept the kindness going. With the events of the past week, I want to create as many good vibes and good karma as possible.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
"John I. Bascom, 60, died in Missoula, Montana on February 29th. A celebration of John’s life will take place on Saturday, March 17th at David’s Restaurant at Santa Clara Municipal Golf Course (5151 Stars and Stripes Drive, Santa Clara, CA).
John was born to Jack & Virginia Bascom on October 26, 1951 in St. Louis, Missouri. As a young boy, John and his family moved to Orinda, California where he would later meet the love of his life, Kimberly Morse, in 1974 after a date arranged by the parents of both. After moving to San Jose and marrying Kim, John started the company that would bear his name for the next 30+ years, Bascom Trim and Upholstery. The hard work and determination that John was known for allowed BTU to thrive into the business that is today. Building a thriving company from the ground up was something that John took a ton of pride in. However, it didn’t match the pride that he had from raising he and Kim’s three children: Lindsey, Ryan and Perry. In 2006, John retired with Kim to Corvallis, Montana. The term “retired” should be used loosely as John continued to work remotely for BTU while also successfully launching another business that developed eco-friendly seat covers (Reusable Product Solutions). In September of 2011, his daughter Lindsey gave birth to John and Kim’s first grandchild, Isla Quinn. The joy that he got from seeing and spending time with Isla was unparalleled.
Friends and family will remember John, not just for his work ethic, but also as someone with a tremendous sense of humor, a love of tennis and golf, and an insatiable taste for Chinese food. To call John Bascom an animal lover would be an incredible understatement. He loved his animals and they were his babies almost as much as his own children.
Although he has passed on, John will live on in everyone that he touched in his 60 with us."
Saturday, March 3, 2012
To be honest, when we unexpectedly had to come to Montana after learning of my father-in-law's passing, I wasn't really thinking about 366 Random Acts. It couldn't have been further from my mind. At one point on Wednesday, my wife mentioned to me how proud her father was of what I was doing, and I knew then that I couldn't skip a day no matter the circumstances.
Hamilton, Montana obviously isn't as large as Chicago, so I feared there wouldn't be anything for me to do for my random acts (outside of caring for my family, etc.). Then I realized that having that mindset went against everything I have preached on this blog. It doesn't matter who you are or where you are, acts of kindness are always something easy to do. So I jumped on my computer and started searching for things to do locally here in Montana. It took all of 4 seconds for me to find something that doubled as a way to temporarily get away from sadness and perform a charitable random act. This evening, for my random act, I will be attending the Radical Reels Film Tour at the Hamilton Performing Arts Center. The film festival is a fundraising event for B.E.A.R (Bitterroot Ecological Awareness Resources). B.E.A.R's mission is "to inspire area youth to connect to their own potential, their community, and the landscape through experiential [learning] and outdoor adventure programs." It gives youth of the area a chance to tap in to their leadership ability while teaching them ways to overcome obstacles that may come up in life. We are looking forward to returning to normalcy, even for a couple of hours.