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Instant Karma
Feb 9th, 2010 by Chris

nirvana1With the New Year well underway, it seems like a good time to do a little accounting. No, I don’t mean finally opening the credit card bills you’ve been hiding for the last several weeks (though you should at least take a peek before attempting your next purchase). I’m talking about considering your Karma account. “Karma account?” you might ask. Yes, that’s right, and we all have one. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, in my world I have my own version: “It takes a bunch of friendly neighbors to get me through my to-do list.” Sure, some of you (those without children, of course) might be more independent than that, but honestly, don’t we all get by “With a Little Help from Our Friends?” Where would any of us be without an occasional favor? The luckiest among us live in vibrant communities full of helpful neighbors, and the best way to keep ourselves on the right side of this vital group is to pay attention to our Karma accounts. If yours is anything like mine, it looks a lot like the check-book after Christmas . . . “I owe, I owe, I owe.”

Okay, so we’ve all been getting, and it is our turn to do a little giving. What do we do? Obviously, there is the ever popular returned favor, like for like: you picked-up my boys from school last week when my washer exploded and flooded our house, so I’ll get your daughter this week while you are waiting for your son’s broken arm to be set. It’s all nice and tidy, Karma in/Karma out. But, perhaps you are few favors down. Or, you really want to gift a close friend. Maybe you want to get the attention of a new friend or co-worker who (if you are single) also happens to be very cute. I’d like to suggest that timeless Karma classic: treating someone to lunch. This might seem like an obvious choice to some, but before you make those reservations at the swankest hip spot in town (remember those credit card bills), or (Heaven forbid) start jotting down orders for the nearest drive-through, consider the word: “treat.” Yes, it implies you’re paying, but what else?

To treat also means things like to care for, to entertain, or more suggestively, to heal (as in, what ails you). Synonyms for a treat include delicacy, ambrosia, or the simple, charming goody. Any sandwich that starts with the word “Big” and ends with a trademark symbol hardly fits this description. Even that $12 Club with the awesome cup of French Onion that’s available at Swanky Swanks falls short of truly caring for someone.

Consider this alternative: taking a few moments to thoughtfully prepare a healthy, lunchtime snack that you can serve to your friend and enjoy on the fly. Treat inherently implies something special, so be creative and add a personal touch. Cut your carrot chips into stars, whisk up your famous vinaigrette, or maybe a little spinach dip. Include that awesome ginseng tea, or a fresh berry smoothie, and don’t forget the homemade oatmeal-raisin cookie because for many (all the kids in my house) treat means something yummy and sweet. Stack them all neatly into your Lunchsense lunchbox and find a special spot, preferably outdoors, but anywhere quietly adjacent to the beaten path should do. Invite a friend and celebrate your greenness (more Karma points) with a trash-free treat while sharing an appreciative smile. If you use your Lunchsense wisely, your Karma account could overflow.

Natives and immigrants
Feb 8th, 2010 by Nancy

audio splitterMy daughter (she’s 11) and her friend begged me to let them use my laptop a few weeks ago to watch a movie in her room, since my boys were watching some movie with stuff blowing up. I relented, but requested that they use earphones so the boys wouldn’t know. My gal pulled out the pair she’d just bought with allowance money and lent her original pair to the friend, then they turned to me and asked,

“Do you have a splitter?”

I said no, my laptop has two headphone jacks so we wouldn’t need one.
Then it occurred to me: “how come my 11 year old knows what a splitter IS and what it’s FOR?” I certainly didn’t when I was her age. So I asked, “how the heck do you know what a splitter is?”
Her friend turned to me and said, very gently,

“Nancy, we’ve grown up with this technology. WE (gesturing to herself and my girl) are natives.”

“YOU are an immigrant.”

Ouch.

But so very true.

Chris, the mug shotOn that note, I’m introducing a new face, a new name, and a new voice to the Lunchsense blog. Meet Chris Naugle:  Born on the East Coast and raised and educated  in the Midwest (Uof Missouri) and Northwest (U of Oregon), Chris now resides quite happily on the West Coast as married father of two elementary age boys.   Chris says he is living the Great American Novel before hoping to someday commit it to paper or at least the internet.  And this is what I get for asking for a bio at 10 pm and receiving it around midnight: He is mostly exhausted.

He also happens to be a dynamic, opinionated writer who can not only complete a sentence, he can even turn a phrase.

Perhaps you assume,

“Oh, Nancy (being an immigrant) needed a tour guide to navigate this online, technology-infused world, so Chris is the go-to guy.”

Um, no, that’s not it. Chris is also an immigrant. He’s joining me on this undertaking because as a small biz owner there’s just not enough of me to get everything done, and he’s a fine writer to boot. We immigrants to ANYTHING just need a little extra help now and then to “keep all the plates spinning,” as the old saw goes.

So then, say hello to Chris, and wish him well (and a little sleep).

Here’s that pesky postscript: after my daughter, her friend and I had that above exchange, my girl said, “Mama, don’t put that on Facebook.” This has become her stock statement after anything funny, embarrassing, or even mildly insightful and interesting comes forth. As always, I agreed to respect her wishes and keep it off Facebook.
But she never mentioned the blog.

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