Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Cutting Crew

For several years,  I've been going to the same undisclosed barbershop. I usually go when the Wifey tells me it's time. It can be a couple months. It's been my experience to seek out and stick with the oldest barber in the shop and that's what I've done. ""Jack" has a similar hairline as I. Think Louie CK. It's not that much to trim and he still takes time. Sometimes it's awkward to walk in. "Can I help you?" "Need a haircut?" I tell them I'm waiting for Jack. The look of loss in their eyes. There goes a customer. Jack does his usual fine job and I tip well. The problem is when goes out of town, out of state in late May.  He doesn't return until September. I try to time it so I get a cut from him before he leaves but eventually, I have to go in. Before he leaves, Jack suggests who to see within the shop and I follow his advice. Sometimes, they are not there or free so I bite the bullet and just submit to whoever is available. It's hard to mess up my hair and I end up looking much better than when I walked in. Still, I look forward to seeing Jack and having him work his master craft on these follicles.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Are you going to go my way?

    My commute takes me to my office in Rockville. It is a little over ten and a half miles. During the summer, when school is out, I can make it there in about twenty minutes. It's a breeze. Down 108, a right on Georgia, down Randolph. In a couple weeks that will all change. The presence of the big yellow school bus makes all the difference. More people schlepping their kids to school. Actual teenage drivers. Yikes. So, it adds on up to another ten minutes. And that's OK. Kids got to get to school to learn. So enjoy your commute now and hope you enjoy your commute as another school year begins.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Good Behavior on the Road

After my daughter obtained a learner's permit, she noticed other drivers' bad behavior. "That person didn't signal," she would report. Or she would note, "That car didn't come to a full stop at the 4-way stop sign intersection", "Is that okay for that SUV to drive on the right [shoulder] and cut ahead of everyone?" and more.

One afternoon after dismissal time, I was driving on Muncaster Mill Road past Magruder High School when my daughter commented, "Oh, no wonder everyone is driving slowly ... There's a police car.”
Sure enough, a police cruiser was right in front of me. I glanced around for an accident but thankfully saw none. During this usually busy time, the scene was unusually calm. Traffic was heavy but cars were merging politely and everyone seemed mellow. No one was in a rush or tailgating anyone else.

This scene confirmed an adage I once heard: "People don't speed when police are around." I think this saying is applicable to different situations when people are temporarily on their best behavior, like Office workers don't surf YouTube while the boss is in and Shoppers don't cheat at self-checkout when a clerk stands nearby.

And now I apply this adage to a new scenario: don't speed or curse at other drivers when my student driver is also in the car.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Joys of Anonymous Online Shopping and Shipping

Since Olney doesn't have a mall, online shopping can be blessing. As a surprise, my husband ordered me a pair black dress pumps from Nordstrom. Unsure of my size, he snooped around in our closet and guestimated what size to order. 

A week later I opened the package, delighted to find the new pumps ...  which were a half size too small. The package had free return shipping, so all I needed to do was repack the shoes, attach the enclosed prepaid, pre-addressed UPS form and drop it off at the UPS store by Rite Aid here in Olney.

"You don't have to do that," my husband said. "I can return them to Nordstorm at Montgomery Mall on my way to work."

"No, that's okay -- the UPS store is convenient here in town," I replied.

My husband thought for a moment and then nodded. "True. Plus what would salespeople think about a middle-aged man returning a pair of ladies' evening pumps?"

"Just tell them that the shoes were too small," I laughed. "They can guess too small for whom."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Silent, not Social Giant

Last September, I wrote about how social Olney's Giant is. No matter what time of day or night I go there, at least a few cars are parked outside with some customers and employees inside. I feel secure seeing others shopping there, especially before storms (stocking up on food), during sewage issues (buying bottled drinking water) and after blizzards (restocking food after being dug out).

One morning last spring, after plodding through school drop-off and Route 108 rush hour traffic, I entered Giant's parking lot ... and saw NO cars. Puzzled by the empty lot, I checked for emergency vehicles, which to my relief were absent. Still, the scene was eerie. Where was everyone? Was Giant closed at 7:30am? Have I entered The Twilight Zone?

I crept into the store and spied two people at the customer service desk. Relieved that I hadn't walked into a crime scene, I quickly picked up a few items and headed toward self-checkout. Just then another person cautiously tiptoed into the store.

"Is there anyone else here?" the customer peered about. "Oh good, another shopper!" She too had wondered if the store was closed or if something sinister was going on when she saw the deserted parking lot.

For once, the Social Giant was a more silent than social!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Random Act of Kindness: Roadside Assistance

After picking up my daughter from Rosa Park Middle School for a midday doctor's appointment, I turned onto Olney Mill Road ... and heard a loud screeching sound and smelled something burning.

Frustrated drivers behind me honked, like a tailgating red sports car that gunned loudly past. Slowly pulling to the side, I climbed out of the car and knelt down to peek underneath – but saw nothing dangling or dragging. My daughter also looked but saw nothing.

My mind raced with questions: 1) What caused the screeching and acrid smell? 2) Should I cancel the doctor's appointment and would I have to pay a cancellation fee? 3) When would I reschedule the appointment (which meant rejuggling my work schedule and interrupting her classes again)? 4) Should my daughter walk back to school while I stay with the car and decide what to do? 5) Should I just walk home? 6) How was I going to drive to errands and kids' activities later in the day?

"Excuse me, do you need any help?"

I stood up to see a young brunette lady who had parked her white car in front of mine. I quickly mumbled my jumbled thoughts and she nodded sympathetically, suggesting maybe I drive the short distance to Fletcher's. Embarrassed to take up her time, especially in my harried (and cursing) state, I thanked her and said I might try that.

"Well, if you need anything," she offered as she climbed back into her car, "please let me know."

I tried my car again, this time rolling a few feet in reverse and then forward -- without any screeching! Hey, I thought cautiously, maybe we can make it to the doctor's office on time. We slowly drove away, without any noise or smell.

Earlier that week, Olney had been pretty windy and maybe a blown-down stick was caught in the wheel well. Perhaps driving in reverse dislodged it. In any case, I was touched by this total stranger who stopped in the middle of a weekday, probably busy and on her way to work, home or on an errand. Her random act of kindness was not actually fixing my car, but offering help that made me calm down and stop cursing my bad luck.

To the young brunette lady with a white car who stopped to check on me and my daughter on Olney Mill Road on Thursday, June 9 at 12:55pm – thank you!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Getting on the RAK (random acts of kindness) bandwagon

The citizens of the Greater Olney community do good things all the time – so why do the not-so-good things seem to get more “air time” in today’s media-intensive world?

Introducing the Greater Olney Random Acts of Kindness (Greater Olney RAK) initiative – one community’s stand for kindness and greater good in the world. Designed to encourage positive interactions and elevate a more positive view of our world, Greater Olney RAK is a movement to encourage residents to perform good acts, recognize good acts, and experience the promise of a better world, at least in our little corner of it.

The Greater Olney RAK movement is about …
1.    Encouraging community members to perform random acts of kindness, small or large.
2.    “Turning up the volume” on the unsung good deeds within our great community.

The ultimate goal of Greater Olney RAK is to help foster a more positive and hopeful outlook toward people and for the world in which we live, starting with our community!

How do I join the Greater Olney RAK initiative? 

Do It …
Become a part of a silent brigade of do good’ers throughout the Greater Olney area by simply acting the next time you feel the urge to randomly help someone with a small or large act of kindness. Your actions could make someone’s day and can help to make our community even better. Do it when the moment strikes you. Do it when a needs presents itself. It’s that simple.

It’s important also to understand that Random Acts of Kindness come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, Great acts are made up of small deeds! They don’t have to be grand or costly, can be done at any time and can take as little as a few seconds to perform. The only requirement is that they have to be an expression of random kindness toward your fellow man, woman, child, or even animal.

Some examples of daily Random Acts of Kindness could include:                                                  
 (We hope they inspire you to think up a few of your own!)
    Simply smile at every person you pass throughout the day.
    Bake a few extra cookies for your neighbor as a surprise.
    Pay for coffee or a meal for the person behind you at the local drive-thru restaurant.
    Call a local charity and offer your services for a few hours.
    Anonymously buy dinner for diners sitting across the restaurant from you.
    Spend time picking up the trash in your community.
    Deliver flowers to a senior who might need some cheer.
    Write a note of thanks to a teacher or community service worker.
    Shovel your neighbor's walk after the next snow storm.
    Offer to mow an elderly neighbor's lawn.

For lots more ideas, check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation at

 See It …
Whether you’re the person doing it, seeing it, or receiving it, help us recognize it. Tell us about your Random Act of Kindness experience by emailing the details to The submission can be anonymous if you prefer. Simply share the details of the act by telling us the “who, what, when, why, where and how” of a recent Random Act of Kindness. Don't forget to note if you were the doer, observer, or recipient of the act. Anyone can report a good act. We want to hear from you!

 Feel It …
Doing good feels great. Random Acts of Kindness are meant to elevate the experience of life for residents in our community and beyond. Together, we can make people happy and help to foster a better world through Greater Olney RAK.

Great News!
To encourage this feeling, share your Greater Olney RAK news and it may be featured on the Greater Olney RAK Hall of Fame page in an upcoming issue of the Greater Olney News.
For more information or to learn more about partnering with or becoming a sponsor of the Greater Olney RAK initiative, email It’s time to start to KRANK UP THE KINDNESS!!