"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Putting Away Horses

The project:
Helping our daughters' riding instructor put away the horses a dozen kids used during today's Fun Day at the Arena.

30 minutes or so (who was counting?)

Why bother?
The riding instructor gave not only her horses, but her entire day to the area's youngest riders. After setting up the event, arriving early to prepare the arena and horses, then bustling throughout the day, I'm sure the last thing she wanted to do was brush and put away all those horses and their tack. We stepped in without asking and got the job done.

Worth it?
YES! Any time spent with horses is good time, plus it helped get our instructor back to her own family sooner. We hope that, with this kind of help (and more), she'll continue offering these days.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Complimenting a Beautiful Young Lady

The project:
Put aside my worries about social norms and complimenting a beautiful woman.


Why bother?
Why not?

In our society, it seems odd for one woman to compliment another, particularly complete strangers. But there I was wandering the streets of San Luis Obispo which is CHOCK FULL of beautiful people. I spotted this restaurant employee leaning against the windowfront of a neighboring business checking her phone. I looked for the photographer - surely there must be one nearby shooting this model shot.


Rather than simply pass by, I offered a compliment.

Worth it?
Yes. Too many people don't see their own beauty. It doesn't hurt to point it out. Plus, she was visibly grateful for the gesture.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mr. B Steps In: Printer Installation on the Sly

The project:
Mr. B voluntarily installed my new printer while I was away from the house.

30 minutes

Why bother?
To give me a hand.

So, there I was printing away on the printer that had given me NO PROBLEMS in the three years since I bought it. I've put a LOT of paper and ink through that bad boy. Not even a glitch. Then, click, grind, rip, shred.

And complete silence.

The printer ate itself alive with the paper jam to end all paper jams.

Surely, I thought, this can be fixed! Mr. B suggested I simply buy a new one, but that seemed so WASTEFUL. Plus, it was a great printer 'til the jam! If I could have it repaired...

Even the repair man wasn't interested. He told me I'd be better off buying a new one.

So I did, but I put off installing it because, while computers allegedly make our lives easier, I find they take up a LOT of our time. I wasn't ready to spend an hour plugging in then trouble shooting the printer.

While the girls and I were out selling books this evening, Mr. B unwrapped that bad boy, installed it and (almost) had it ready for me when we arrived home.

Worth it?
I was certainly grateful, so, yeah! :)

Photo courtesy Corey Holmes under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Organizational meeting for homeschool group.

The project:
Meet with our homeschool group to develop future plans/events.

90 minutes

Why bother?
We are part of a local special interest group related to our practice of homeschooling. The adults in the group meet regularly to coordinate calendars and develop a variety of programs, classes, tours and other events for our children.

Worth it?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Take Note(s)

The project:
Attend my final meeting as secretary of our homeowners association board of directors, take notes, type up minutes, research rules and restrictions and report back to board members.

120 minutes

Why bother?
We live in a nice neighborhood. Unfortunately, homeowners are apathetic about the association which maintains the 14-acre greenbelt we all enjoy. I got roped into serving on the board three years ago. I've served as V.P., acting president and secretary during my three consecutive terms. I continued to serve on the board because others wouldn't step in and, well, someone had to do it.

It's not that tough in our neighborhood, but the apathy was mind-boggling, even depressing at times.

Worth it?
Yes, I suppose. It allows us to maintain the "park" we all enjoy (along with countless "trespassers" who don't pay to maintain the park, but certainly take advantage of its existence). But the lack of interest on the part of other homeowners is truly pathetic.

I got to thinking about this, and other volunteer leadership roles during a discussion with my sister-in-law. She serves as a member of the Little League Board in her community where hundreds of kids are organized into teams, field use is coordinated, uniforms make their way to the appropriate players, volunteer coaches are organized. Still, people call to gripe, complain, moan, yes, even...well...let's just stick with those.

Too often, those who complain don't seem to get that these organizations are volunteer driven, that they are WELCOME to volunteer to do the job "correctly" as THEY see fit; to contribute their own time and energy to meet their own needs AND the community's needs.

Sometimes volunteering for a leadership role feels like painting a target on yourself.

Kick me...here.

No...a little to the right.


That's the spot!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Horseback Riding as Good Deed?

The project:
Ride a horse at a walk for an hour to help it on its road to recovery from a recent injury.

60 minutes, give or take.

Why bother?
The woman who teaches our daughters the ins and outs of horsemanship has several horses, children, and a life away from the arena. Her time is limited, and sometimes her animals' needs outstrip the time she has available.

This week, she asked if I'd like to ride one of her horses to help it recover from a recent injury. She really needed it to be walked for an hour, but didn't have time to sit the horse. Would I do it?

I tried not to act too excited at the opportunity to ride a real, responsive, working horse at will exploring 42 acres.

Worth it?
In OH so many ways. I love that our girls get to ride these days, and that their new teacher is really moving them ahead with their skills. Watching them is fun, but really has given me the itch to ride again. When the instructor gave me the opportunity to ride, too, well, far be it from me to turn down THIS kind of opportunity to lend a hand!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Scrubbing Dutch Ovens

The project:
Help clean up after a Dutch Oven breakfast.

15-20 minutes

Why bother?
During a weekend campout, our hostess made breakfast for some 50 people sharing this rally experience. Afterward, there were eight Dutch ovens in need of cleaning. My stomach was blissfully full, and my hands were free.

Worth it?
Yes. Cleaning a Dutch oven sounds like a big chore, but when well seasoned and used properly it's really not a big deal. Still, there weren't many of folks stepping up to the task. Volunteering was another way to give thanks for a meal well prepared and generously served.