Friday, October 24, 2014

a minute for grandma

for those of you that do not know, my grandma (my mom's mom) died two weeks ago today. last saturday, i had the privilege of planning her service and giving her eulogy. 

it was definitely the hardest public speaking moment of my life....

and i didn't make it through without quite a few tears... in fact., the very first thing i said "Jeanne Lee" brought me to tears because the next word i had to say was "was"... never has a single word been harder to utter. 

i won't post the whole service here (even though it was brief...and beautiful). i would like to share the eulogy with you though. 

“Hey. It’s me.”
It hit me the other day that I will never hear those words from my grandmother’s mouth again.
I remember back in the day of “land line telephone,” when we would come home from dinner or the store, dad would play the messages on the answering machine, and inevitably there would be one from grandma on there: “Hey. It’s me. Give me a call.” Click.
Then, dad would tease: “How are we supposed to know who ‘me’ is?”

Writing this eulogy, I have wondered: “who is me?” Who was Jeanne Rutkowski Lee?

She was my grandmother: the maker of Scrabble that you could eat and eat and eat, the most delicious pickles I have ever tasted, and ginger snaps (my favorite holiday cookie). She was a lover of Day Time Television (be it soap operas or The Price is Right) and QVC (we always said she would buy Today’s Special Value before knowing what it was). She was a lifelong teacher and educator, the giver of each year’s “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and a mother to three wonderful women. My grandmother was so many things to list them would be silly—and tedious—and I’ve already done a lot of that on Facebook. 

My cousin, Courtney, used song lyrics from one of my favorite musicals (Wicked) in her rememberance post: “So much of me is made from what I learned from you.”

I have thought a lot about this, and I’ve realized that many parts of me were shaped from my grandmother’s influence:

Spending days at grandma’s house making scrabble or baking cookies laid a foundation for a love of baking—which I still turn to when I am stressed or need to sort something out.

As a child, I remember grandma would constantly correct my grammar—which drove me crazy in the moment—but, as fate would have it, is now something I do to many others, in person or on the internet, who misuse “your” or “their” or “its.”

My love of silly poetry comes from reading volumes of Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky at her house…

Even my “teacher genes” probably have a foundation in her—when I started working with autistic students, it felt like I was continuing a bit in her footsteps—as we shared the deep belief that these students are just as valuable as all the rest—and every time I can remind myself to be a little bit more patient with those particular students in the more challenging times, I feel like perhaps I am making her proud.

I will carry these things from my grandmother like a handprint on my heart.

Now I want you all to take a moment and think of what Jeanne Lee has passed on to you. What part of her shines through you?

It occurs to me that this version of my grandmother that I am remembering is not the grandmother I have know for the past ten years. Her body had broken a couple of times and maybe her mind had started to wander of a bit. The last time I saw her we had interrupted her meal for a quick hello. After exchanging hellos and “I love you”s and such, she looked at my husband and said: “Mat!” “Yes, Jeanne?” he answered. She paused and really looked at him, then exclaimed, “You’re bald! When did that happen?” “When I entered the military,” he replied. We all had a good laugh—because, sometimes, if you don’t laugh, you cry—but as we said our goodbyes, exchanged more “I love you”s and started to walk away, we heard her bragging to all of her tablemates, “That’s my other grandbaby, Mallory, and her husband...” Although details had grow a bit fuzzy, she knew who we were and loved us as much as ever— and that will never change, whether she is in this world or the next.     

The other thing that had not wavered with age was her unshakeable faith in God. Perhaps it is this faithfulness that is the greatest gift she has passed along to her children and her grandchildren… and her great-grandchild too.  

My first Bible—this Bible I hold in my hands now and carried with me to Sunday school, Bible study, and church retreats throughout middle school, high school, and into college—was given to me by grandma. I will never forget the special trip we took to the Christian Book Store to go pick it out. I had just decided that I wanted to go back to church, and mom was driving me all around to different Methodist churches in the area so I could pick the one I liked best. Grandma told me if I was going to go to Sunday School, then I needed my own Bible. I hadn’t really thought that having your own Bible mattered much, but I agreed to go with her to pick one out. She was patient as I looked through several Bibles, and finally settled on the “Teen Study Bible.” It was the New International Version with a purple cover, cool side notes to focus your readings, and a cartoon man called Jericho Joe that made Bible puns—it was the Bible for me…and for the first time I was excited to sit down and read it.

On June 17, 2000, my grandmother gave me an invaluable gift: an excitement for my growing faith and a tool to help me deepen it. I could never thank her enough for that.

My dad relayed a story to me when he was telling me all the details of her passing—that grandma had told her roommate that she “wouldn’t be here this weekend.” I like to think she knew where she was going, and she was looking forward to going there.  Not because she wanted to leave us, but because she was looking forward to seeing her husband Johnny again and meeting the Lord that she loved so much.

I can’t help but think that one day, when we enter Heaven, maybe we will hear that familiar voice again saying, “Hey. It’s me. I’ve been waiting for you.” I hope so. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

a minute to reflect

as i approach my birthday, i have started to reflect on the past year and wonder what adventures the future year will bring. so, i decided to write 26 things i did in my year of being 26.

  1. i started a blog (again), posted fairly regularly until about February (again), then stopped completely (again): old habits die had, i suppose. but! here i am, updating the blog in June instead of deleting it in embarrassment, so maybe this new year will be different.
  2. i played Emily in Our Town (the title of this blog comes from that play, if you don't know it, stop everything you are doing, read it, and come back. i dare you not to cry): Emily has been a dream role of mine for year upon years, and i had the privilege of playing her this year with an amazing company of theatre artists (who became so much like family, that we all had a Thanksgiving together). also, it was my first lead role, so it's kindof a two for one deal.
  3. speaking of this fabulous company of artists... in January, i joined their ranks as a company member and finally found an artistic home in New Haven. thank you, NHTC.
  4. again related to Our Town and this blog's title, i got myself a tattoo. on February 11. A Tuesday. (Emily's birthday and the day she goes back to in the play-- it was just too perfect, and i am too much of a dork to let an opportunity like that to pass me by). the tattoo was, of course, inspired by Emily's final speech-- but it was also greatly influenced by my preacher giving a sermon the day after he saw Our Town. he was so affected by the play that he re-wrote his sermon. it's that powerful. (did i mention you should go read this play? seriously, just go. now.
    4A. i will post pictures and a longer explanation of my tattoo soon. i just wanted to show my dad in person first. i still haven't told him so if he reads this before i see him (on SUNDAY!) , then he knows. i hope you're not upset, dad.
  5. in December, i was confirmed in the Episcopal church. this is my second time being confirmed (i was confirmed as United Methodist when i was 13). i could go on and on about how much i love my church-- and our message of "God loves everyone, no exceptions." because it's true. and i'm so happy to be part of a progressive church family (and denomination) that fits my belief system, instead of me trying to fit myself into their system.
  6. so, of course, i joined the vestry of the church (that's sortof like the board of the church for those of you that don't know what a vestry is... i know i didn't before i was asked to be on it). being on vestry has added some stress to my life, but it's also made me have a greater understanding of what is going on in the entire life of the church (not just the spiritual side) and really own my church.
  7. i rode a bike (without training wheels) for the first time-- special thanks to my #hulkhusband for that one. it took less than a half hour in the back parking lot of LWT. and i haven't done it since. but i did it!
  8. i became a certified kids' yoga instructor through Karma Kid's Yoga. 30 hours of training made me laugh hard and play hard-- and do some things i didn't think i could do (i'm looking at you arm balances!) it was one of the most intense, best weekends of my year. (i was also in a show that weekend, so it was extra crazy!)
  9. thanks to my awesome friend, Marissa, i now teach kids' yoga on Saturdays and Sundays at The Classroom at Elm City Wellness. Marissa started The Classroom to give kids an "alternate to Saturday morning cartoons" and put me in charge of kids' yoga. it's a fabulous friend that pushes you, believes in you, and makes things happen for you.  
  10. in September, i came to the new chiropractor partnering with ECW (that's Elm City Wellness, for those of you not following along) because my neck was in lots of pain. i had to keep coming twice a twice for a month, then once a week for a month, then just once a month... but doing this... and getting more massages along the way...helped me realize that massage and chiropractic work is not a luxury-- it is an integral part of my wellness routine. and you know what? i have never felt better, healthier, or happier in my body.
    10A. you have only one body. take care of it. and, if it's between luxury coffee or eating out one week, i'd rather have the massage.
  11. just last month, due to overwhelming allergies (i took a sick day because i couldn't function--and i never take sick days. something needed to be done), i decided to try acupuncture. Marissa had been telling me for over a year that it would help, and after one session, i wondered why i ever waited. the needles weren't bad (as long as you don't move-- i did involuntarily and it wasn't the best). within five minutes of the needles being in, i was breathing clearer than i had in months. after two, i didn't have to take my daily allergy medicine anymore (and we're going on 4 weeks now). i cannot recommend it enough. i guess it's going in the wellness regime. Ed even helped my knees last week. is there anything he can't do?
  12. at work, i adapted my first Shakespeare play: A Midsummer Night's Dream for 35 middle schoolers...which involved writing some ridiculous prologues (which i loved-- special thanks to Tara Sweeney for talking them through--they were a huge hit!) the production was incredibly well received by faculty and students alike-- and everyone said it made Shakespeare fun (and funny!), accessible, and they couldn't wait to do it again.    
  13. i learned how to build puppets out of cardboard. we made a giant wolf head, Mother Goose, a frog, two birds, and five flat mice that transformed into horses. the puppets were featured in this year's original show at Meadowside: Grimms Meet Goose (which i wrote for 72 3rd-5th graders). what an undertaking that was! we had three students with "exceptionalities" this year-- and i'm so glad we could have an integrated theatre experience. to say i was proud of this show is an understatement.
  14. i planned and facilitated by first professional development for teachers as part of LWT's ED LAB. the workshop was titled "active storytelling: creating, adapting, and devising"-- and i think it was pretty stellar. i felt way accomplished (and it was taught the day after Grimms Meet Goose so it was extra badass)
  15. i discovered my love for string cheese-- particularly Polly-O brand while baby-sitting Max. i made him lunch of chicken nuggets and cheese, but he didn't want the cheese. i didn't want to throw out a whole i decided to just try it. and the rest is history. i eat it at least 2-3 times a day now. alert the newspapers. who am i?
  16. i got really into smoothies for several months-- and chia seeds. but at least i use them what they are meant for. i'm not a total hipster i swear. chia seeds and string cheese. does this make me an adult?
  17. i tried a lobster roll-- which was mostly mayo. i didn't like it. #hulkhusband thinks i should try regular lobster (no roll) and i'll like it. we shall see.
  18. i went to Maine for the first time ever. and i'm going back next week. oh Holton, you are the best of the relaxing/get-away-from-it-all places. a beautiful lake and the best dairy farm you can imagine (hello ice cream!)
  19. i achieved a life-long dream and became friends with a children's librarian-- the fabulous Sunnie Lovelace, everyone. she is my own personal Miss Honey. and a fabulous friend. she's super crafty and super smart and adventurous (she's going on an awesome climbing trip soon--more on this later). and i'm just so happy to have her in my life. also, she got me to eat bleu cheese on a burger.
  20. Kristy and i worked through our differences (and similarities). we are now good friends and awesome collaborators. my work this year has been so much more (more everything really: greater, more specific, bolder) with her on my team. and she introduced me to DOUGH as a tool for meetings and brainstorming.
  21. i became a sort-of groupie for my friend Megan (or should I say Chenot?)'s awesome brother/sister band, Misson 0. they are the coolest. you should definitely check them out. take a moment and come back. google is your friend. also, robots!
  22. i planned an awesome bridal shower (my first!) for my dear, darling friend Deena. it was an ice cream social/tea party. held in Sunnie's backyard. and it was a delightful afternoon. i was told i should be a party planner. i don't know about that, but it was loads of fun to do.
  23. i bought concert tickets on a whim to see Deathcab for Cutie and The Head and The Heart. i didn't have anyone to go with, but i wanted to go, so i bought them. long story short, plans fell through and i didn't have anyone to go i gave them away. well, i sold them, but i haven't been paid for them yet, so i guess i gave them away. this was a bit of a bummer. it was being adventurous to a level i hadn't been before. and i was proud of that. and still a bit sad i didn't go. alas.
  24. i learned how to turn t-shirts into tank tops-- and i've done it about 4 times now. it's pretty nifty. thanks, pinterest.
  25. i got instagram and have slowly figured it and hashtags out. this was definitely a process. we had an instagram campaign attached to Midsummer with #dramaticpenguins and took selfie break during final rehearsal (a great way to redirect focus when people keep playing on their phones). this is particularly exciting because i am launching an instagram campaign for st. pjs called #185actofkidness (or #185acts) to link up to celebrating our 185th anniversary. much more on this later.
  26. and finally, i started going to therapy with #hulkhusband. we were noticing that his ptsd, my seasonal depression, and the like was getting in the way, especially in our communicating. so, we've had a couple of sessions-- and have learned to be more intentional with each other. the one thing we were told is there is an obvious amount of love between the two of us. i have been given some options for therapy for myself, and i'm thinking i will probably look into it more after vacation. it helps. there's a blog post here to, but more later. (i've said that a lot, huh? guess i just have to follow through and i have my next 10 or so blog posts).
all in all, not a bad year, 26. here's to 27! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

a minute for my heart

i wear my heart on my sleeve. 

this has been true about me for as long as i can remember and probably even before then, too.

and i hate it. 

because the thing about wearing your heart on your sleeve is that it gets hurt more easily than if you hide it behind a protective barrier-- like your chest cavity or your emotional walls. 

i texted one of my best friends earlier bemoaning my condition (yet again) and she said:
"Well, someone has to."

when i told her she would have to explain that one to me, she responded:
"Well, my dear, there isn't anything brave about leaving the important unsaid
Or downplaying its importance."

so, i may be brave, but i also hurt.

and i hate it. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

a minute to say something

i'm trying this new thing where i try to say what i feel instead of bottling it up inside.
sounds easy enough, right?

say what you mean,
say what you think,
say what's on your mind,
say what you feel.
but it is so much harder than that. 

because i am confronted with all these things, like:
  • the fear of the reaction(s) i will be met with
  • all the reasons i shouldn't say what i feel (like: i shouldn't feel this way, what right do i have?, that's not appropriate, what will people think?, i will upset someone if i let them know i feel this way, etc.)
  • those feeling don't matter/aren't valid (why are you even feeling this way in the first place?)

let's just assume everyone knows what happens when people bottle up their feelings and ask endless cycles of unrelenting questions internally (or worse, spin in never-ending shame-spirals).

so, let me start this blog post by saying, i have been struggling for the past month and a half.

i have been sad.
for no reason.
i have beat myself up.
for many reasons... that i convince myself are legitimate reasons, but are probably not.

and for several weeks, i simultaneously wanted to tell everyone--wanted to scream at them, don't you see how sad i am? don't you notice?-- and keep it a secret from everyone--nope, everything is normal over here. see how happy i am (not)?

i mean, what did i have to be sad about? no one in my family is sick or dying. i have a full-time job doing something i love and am passionate about. i even have health insurance. i am happily married. i have two dogs. i can afford a comfortable apartment and food to eat. i even have a nice vacation planned.

but i was still sad.
for no reason.
and i still beat myself up.
inside of my mind.

so, then, i finally told someone (my husband):
i'm not happy.
"have you been taking your vitamins?"
no. not consistently. (internal beating-up of self)
"well, you should. you know they help. remember last year?"
yeah. fine. but i think it could be more than that...
"well, try taking your vitamins first."

and i told someone else (a friend):
i haven't been myself lately. i think maybe it's SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
"well, the weather has been terrible."
yeah. (i simultaneously wish it was more than that and that it was that easy---let's blame the weather!)
"have you been exercising?"
no. i've felt like hibernating all the time. 
"haven't we all? but maybe you should try exercising."

great practical solutions. things i had been telling myself for weeks. i felt a bit better, but it wasn't enough somehow.

so, at church, when my priest announced he would offer special healing during communion, i thought about going over. maybe this was what i needed.
   but do i really need special healing or prayer because i'm sad?
   is that really worth praying over?
   look at the line. i bet people have problems far worse than mine. 
   maybe i just won't stop.

but i stopped.
and i waited.
and i reflected. i mean, what exactly would i say?
then, my turn came:

i've been struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, and i just...i need help. 
wait. was is really that simple? 
as he placed his hands on my head and prayed, i felt tears forming.  
(they are forming as i type this)
so, i just gave in:
i let him hold my head and say the words i couldn't.
i let myself take a deep breathe and say "amen."
and when i stood up, i felt...better.

no completely prayer-solved-all-my-problems better
but better somehow.

because i had admitted i was struggling
(which was a step further than saying i was sad),
then i asked for help.

i hadn't been able to do that before.
i hadn't been able to say i needed help.
i wanted to solve my own problems.
but i wasn't.
i wanted to fix it.
but i couldn't.
and that made me feel like something was wrong with me.

but it's not.
i'm just struggling a little.
and that doesn't make me wrong.
or mean that i need fixing.
that makes me human.
that means i am me, exactly as i am.
and i am OK.

so, here is what i have to say:

God, the universe, my dear friends, my precious family,

sometimes, i am sad.
sometimes, i don't know why.
oftentimes, i don't want to talk about it because it frustrates me. 
that doesn't mean i don't want to talk to you 
   --although it may mean i don't have the energy for long conversations.
please don't take it personally. 

i have learned that while i seem extroverted
   --and i thrive on the energy of those around me--
i need recovery time
   --more of me is introverted than i previously thought-- 
i need to recharge.
sometimes, i need to do this completely alone.
sometimes, i may need you there. 
just to sit there with me. 
in silence. 
maybe you will even play with me hair or hug me...
maybe you won't.
and that's ok. 

sometimes, i am sad.
sometimes, i need help.
but don't try to fix me
   --try to be there for me instead.
let me feel your love. 
and i will be ok.  

Monday, February 3, 2014

a minute for life and death

this post began more than a week ago as "a minute for dads" but, through my delay in writing it, has morphed into something a bit more.

you see, two weeks ago, two of my good friends lost their fathers (one dad was 90, the other was 75). and, i didn't know what to say to either of them (i still don't) to make them feel better-- because how can anything anyone says to you make it better? i was talking to my husband about how i wished i could do something but i couldn't think of anything right and how that made me feel worse (because i am a natural nurturer), and he said-- very well intentioned-- "you've been busy. i mean, life gets in the way."

"life gets in the way." 

i'm not sure what my external reaction was-- probably something along the lines of "that's no excuse"-- but it certainly gave me internal pause. it seems as if i had heard this sentence many, many times in the past two weeks. i think i had even said it myself, but on friday, i really stopped to think about it.

"what exactly does life get in the way of?

i mean, i know that the saying means something like
"the things we have to do to keep up with our every day living get in the way of the things we want to do but cannot seem to find (or make) time to actually do.
but does life actually get in the way-- or do we put it in the way as an excuse?

now, before you go thinking that i'm about to write one of those "live every minute as if it is your last" posts, i'm not. or at least, i'm not trying to. despite the name of this blog, this is not what i am trying to say. i'm more interested in preserving the minutes we live-- both the ordinary and the extraordinary. 

last Sunday (in the first minute of quiet i had all week), i had a mini-panic attack at the thought of losing my own dad. the busy-ness of my life was no longer in the way of my processing the news of the week, and my brain was working overtime: what was happening to all of the dads?! was mine next? these thoughts made me feel selfish, but they also made me feel scared.

in my humble opinion, i am incredibly blessed to have the best dad in the world, and i cannot imagine what life-- and the world-- would be like without him in it (i frequently have the same thoughts about my mom, too-- it's no secret, losing my parents is one of my deepest, darkest fears)

and then i realized, this is probably exactly how both of my friends feel. they now have to live in a world without their dads. and they have never had to do that before. it's something unfathomable until it becomes your reality. and although i have tried (for over a week now) i can't seem to properly articulate my thoughts because it makes no sense to me. i haven't lived it. i don't know. my mom knows. my husband knows. several other good friends know... and now two more friends are going to have to learn to live a new life without their dads. how are they going to do that? and how could i begin to help?

the deaths didn't stop there: this week,

  • one of my students (a fourth grader) lost her father (again with the dads!); 
  • my brother-in-law lost his grandmother (why is this one somewhat easier to process?); 
  • just yesterday, a co-worker suddenly lost her husband (again, i am at a loss).

bringing up the questions:

  • what do i say to my student when i see her wednesday? is it worse to bring it up? should i pretend i don't know? is that insulting? will she even be in school on wednesday? wednesday is audition day, so do i just give her a good part if she misses auditions?
  • what do you do at a funeral where you don't know the person? and why do you go? i went to my brother-in-law's grandmother's funeral, even though i didn't know her. i went to support the person i love. he's my family. this is what you do for your family. you show up. going is an act of support and encouragement-- and you don't have to have the"right words," you just show up. 
  • what do you say to your co-worker when you see her in the office? what is appropriate? what is enough? 

and i think the answer to all of my questions is this:
small kindnesses. 

  • a hug-- or a well meaning hand (on the shoulder) when a hug may be too much.
  • showing up to a funeral or wake or visitation (if you can)
  • sending a card or a text to let them know they are in your thoughts
  • giving them time to process without having to explain or justify


honoring their stories. (this is where i bring it back around, i hope)

what are the small stories you remember from those people that you have lost? those minutes-- both ordinary and extraordinary-- of life. take a moment. really fix them in your mind.

do you have them?


instead of talking about "life getting in the way" or using life as an excuse, let's put those minutes of life-- the minutes remember with our loved ones-- in the way of our mourning and our sadness and our life, for one minute, to honor their lives.

and maybe that will help.
just for one minute.

Friday, January 24, 2014

stressful minutes, wasted minutes

today, i feel as if i have spent many more minutes than i needed to worrying about whether any of my future blog posts will be "as good as" that first one or "good enough" to read, period. i think they usually call it the curse of the second novel... or in this case "the curse of the second blog post." (i'm no where near a novel. yet.) and who am i to think i have enough to say to write a blog? (much less a novel) oh brain, you betrayer.

apparently, this is what i do when people read my blog and tell me i'm awesome.

what in the world is wrong with me?


here it is.
my second (technically third) post.

i'm doing it-- without knowing exactly what i will say, but knowing i will eventually say something...

because i want to write, by golly.

so, i will write.

just write. 

i remember having this same problem at sometime in high school... i think it was over a sermon i was going to be giving for youth Sunday, and i was freaking out about it--of course-- not much has changed in ten years, apparently-- and my good friend Jerry told me to stop it and to write. "just write." those were his words.

so i did.

and it worked.

it always works. writing my solo show senior year of college was agony.
Pure. Unadulterated. Agony.
so much so that my friend William (who, i am sure, was sick of listening to my bitching and moaning) volunteered to type while i just sat there and talked about what i was thinking of writing just so i could get started.

the getting started...the "just writing" is so hard.
for me.
why is it so hard?

i may never know.

but i do know that i plan to keep writing.

instead of worrying.
instead of self editing.
instead of drafting in my head but never putting words to paper.
instead of making excuses.
instead of judging myself.
                           and my thoughts.
                           and my words.

because, as a very wise teacher once told me (while i was walking a tightrope, no less):

"Judging yourself is wasted energy." 


here's to no more wasting energy--or minutes--on judging yourself.

            it's time to just write.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

the minute of creation

this morning (Thursday), I decided to create this blog...

without the worry of "saying it right"... which is often my downfall for consistent writing and expressing my thoughts in general-- I just don't want to say it incorrectly, or worse, wrongly...

but isn't not saying it worse?

I think maybe it is...

"How do I tell you everything that is in my heart?

     Impossible to begin...



snow day minute

driving home from work on Tuesday, I passed a man walking in the snow... he didn't have a hat or a scarf, just alight coat and some ear buds.

and how many times have you been warned not to stop your car for strangers? and how many internet articles have you read about men preying on women by acting as if their car is broken down and they need help? and how many times have you passed by a scene like this one?

so, I drove on by...but the nagging feeling continued... and all the things that had been ingrained in me: the fear of rape, the "don't talk to strangers," the desire to get home after a long day began to conflict with my human compassion and my worry for this poor man (who had to be around my age) walking in the heavy snow--without proper clothing! I was in my car, and I was cold--what must he be feeling?

then, the light turned red.

well, I couldn't back up. But, I told myself if he reached me and the light hadn't turned, I would do it.

I purposefully did not turn right on red, although I could have, and I realized, I wanted him to reach me in time...

and he did.

I rolled down my window:

   "excuse me, sir?" old habits die hard... "would you like a ride?"

   taking out an ear bud and pausing mid-stride "no, thank you..."

   "are you sure? would you like my hat?" taking off my homemade hat and holding it out to him

    big smile (and I notice the British accent) "no, thank you. I'm just right up the road, really." 

   "ok...stay warm!" 

and I drove away smiling, waving at him at the crosswalk... and I was glad I rolled down my window, even if he didn't accept my offer(s)...because kindness is so under-valued and under-given in this world... and it really makes all the difference.