A lasting legacy

Every November, a homeless person starts camping out in our subway station. I think the MTA lets him stay there because he brings along his dustpan and brush and keeps the place clean. He’s also quiet (apart from his small battery-powered radio that he sometimes plays) and pleasant.

On Tuesday we took him food. Nothing special, we just cooked a little extra pasta. And was extremely grateful. So last night we did the same again. Except last night it was raining, and the place he sleeps (halfway down the steps) often gets wet when it rains so he wasn’t there. We left the food for someone else huddled up under blankets trying to keep dry on the church steps.  Tonight we’ll probably do the same. And again tomorrow. And the next day. As often as we can we’ll cook a little extra and give it to someone who needs it. Because there is always someone who needs it.

Merry Christmas everyone. See you again next year.

How does Karma work exactly?

Does Karma work if you are deliberately extra nice because you want something in return? I doubt it. But today I didn’t want to chance it. My almost four-month-old was having his second and hopefully last kidney surgery at New York Presbyterian, and I needed all the good vibes I could get.


So the rude taxi driver who took us to the hospital got an overly large tip. The nurses and admin staff in the office got chocolates. I smiled at EVERYONE. Even the grumpy nurse who kept tutting as my child screamed the ward down after coming round from the anaesthetic.

The surgery went well and we’re all home now. So maybe it does work. But just in case, I popped out this evening with a hot meal for the homeless guy who spends most nights in my local subway station. He was more hungry than grateful – shoving a forkful in his mouth before muttering thank you through a mouthful of pasta. I didn’t mind. In fact his enjoyment showed his gratitude more than his words.

I’m grateful too. For a positive outcome after a few tough months.



Overly ambitious

Today I had to go to Macy’s. In Herald Square. With a baby. FOUR days before Christmas.

Well I say had to. More like chose to. You see, even though I am pretty committed to non-toy gifts this year, my kiddo only just wrote his letter to Santa. And he asked for a snoopy (just like the one he’d seen when we went to visit Santa at Macy’s). I know he shouldn’t really get everything he’s asked for, but he’s only asked for four things (Up two from last year!) And Snoopy’s one of them. And I really, really want him to believe in the magic of Santa.

So, as soon as the babysitter arrived I jumped on the subway and headed for the busiest store in town.

It was hot. It was crowded. The queue for the elevators snaked around the store. It was, just like this advent challenge, overly ambitious.

Luckily I managed to get the Snoopy. I also have a few days left to rectify my poor advent of good things performance this year.

Here are a few things I want to do before Christmas:

Take a meal to someone who needs it.

Leave cards for people who deserve them (mail guys and gals, fire fighters, janitors etc).

Bake treats for my neighbours.

Leave anonymous gifts for children in the building.

Let’s see how I do.

Food for thought

I saw a statistic that shocked me the other day. One in five New Yorkers rely on charities for food. One in five. In one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

One of the things I did last year that brought deep satisfaction was giving food to our local food bank. I did pledge to do this throughout the year but have to admit that I failed miserably, only managing to do it when there was a City Harvest collection at school.

So tonight I sorted out food for the church food pantry. They are always so grateful. And it’s so busy, even though it’s just a few short blocks away from expensive restaurants and even more expensive high rise apartment buildings.

And this year I will make sure I do it more often. Food for life, not just for Christmas.

If you can, please consider donating food to your local food bank or soup kitchen. I know they’ll appreciate it.


Real life and a few tears

After a day spent catching up on good things yesterday, today was spent catching up on real life. Sorting closets, buying final presents, wrapping paper, writing cards. Yes it’s all party party party here in NYC;)

Luckily I had chance to do a quick, but definitely worth it good thing when buying wrapping paper. There was a chance to add a donation to St Jude’s at the till.

St Jude’s helps kids with cancer. Their strap line? ‘Please give to help kids live.’ As a mum it got me. As a copywriter it floored me. Who could say no to that?

Later, I saw this – 28 pictures that prove 2015 wasn’t a completely terrible year – and it had me in tears. (Good tears!) It also made me think I need to up my game!


Catching up

Ok so two days have passed and amidst head-exploding school zoning meetings and visits to Macy’s Santaland I just have. Not. Had. A. Minute.

My lovely sister in law sent me a heartbreaking story recently which you have probably seen flying around on Facebook – basically about how children’s hospital wards tend to get plenty of gifts from corporates and individuals at Christmas time but the children’s mental health wards got nothing.

It’s so shocking. So to make up for my lacklustre performance of late I sent three gifts (one each for the two days I’ve missed and one for today). I sent them to Little Woodhouse Hall in the city I tend to call home, Leeds. If you want to do the same the address is:

Little Woodhouse Hall
18 Clarendon Road

I used Amazon uk. It was just easier. Because with two snotty kiddos and a very messy apartment, today is another one of Those Days.