Assignment No. 19: Tip an EXTRA 5%.

OCT 1-31…Tip an EXTRA 5%. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Unless I receive absolutely inexcusable service, I’d consider myself a decent tipper. Restaurant servers receive 15 or 20%. The woman who cuts my hair receives 10%. I rarely tip the unseen hotel maid – but am not feeling too good about that as I write this. Taxi drivers receive 10 or 15% or I simply have them “keep the change.” Valets, bellhops and shuttle drivers receive at least $2 per service. All of these people are on the feet all day long and deserve their wages and then some. This assignment will be an experiment in generosity as I tack on an extra 5% to the amount I already tip. That means wait service will be at 20 or 25% and Peggy who cuts what’s left of my hair will receive 15%. For others, I’ll just plan on holding what I have with a loose grip.

Assignment No. 18: Take an artistic PHOTO.

SEPT 15-OCT 14… Take an artistic PHOTO. Beauty is in they eye of the camera holder.

With cameras embedded in everything, is there really a reason you couldn’t take a photo each day? Gee, I even think there’s a camera built into my toothbrush. Just because cameras are accessible, it doesn’t mean that good pictures will result. In fact, I probably take 10 times more photos than I did 10 years ago, but the percentage of photos that are of good quality has dramatically decreased. This new assignment is intended to encourage me to see what is around from new and different vantage points and to capture at least a few good pictures as a result.

Assignment No 17: Sunrise, Sunset…

SEPT 1-SEPT 15… SUNRISE, SUNSET. We use minutes and hours, God marks the days by sunrises and sunsets.  I think he intended that they bring him glory and are to be enjoyed.  After all, they are in limited supply.

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

These lyrics from Fiddler on the Roof are a bittersweet reminder that our days are precious and few.  For this assignment I’ll be attempting to take in a sunrise or sunset each day, assuming the skies are clear!

Assignment No. 16: PUSH-UP app.

AUG 15-SEPT 14… PUSH-UP app. Is it too late to win that Presidential Fitness Award that I never earned back in grade school?

The beauty of a smartphone is that it can do almost anything for you – including coaching you to build up your abilities to do push ups! If I had owned this phone back in 5th grade, Mrs. Romine might have been more pleased with my performance during P.E. class. With a barrel of Bengay at the ready, I’ll be pushing my physical limits this month as I see how many consecutive push-ups I can do by month end. Someone please tell me I’m not the only one that didn’t enjoy dressing out for gym class!

Update: Sept 3 —  I’ve abandoned the smartphone app – it wasn’t as smart as I thought.  And… the first day just about did me in.  I’m doing my own regimen and am happy to report I’m up to 53 push-ups at one time. Now that’s progress!

Assignment No. 15: Skip the CAFFEINE.

AUG 1-31… Skip the CAFFEINE. Ummm, can we talk about this one?

Coffee isn’t bad, is it? So why when I went to the doctor’s office did the patient questionnaire ask about smoking and illicit drug use, as well as coffee consumption. Really? They put those three things in the same category? I do like the fact that my Keurig starts itself up in the morning and that I have another Keurig waiting for me at the office. But, that’s not an addiction is it? I guess the addict really never knows. I don’t drink soda, so for this assignment it looks like I’ll be clearing my head by banning coffee and iced tea for the next 30 days. I’m predicting a bad headache for the first few days, so if you see me, thanks for speaking quietly.

Assignment No. 14: Watch a TED video.

JULY 15-AUG 14…Watch a TED video. Who would’ve thunk?

Never heard of TED? We’ll I’m not talking about the best man in my wedding. I’m talking about TED.com. This is another assignment designed to stretch me. The website is filled with videos that are thought-provoking, inspirational, beautiful, intriguing and challenging. There are also some videos that are just plain odd. It’s hard to describe exactly, but I’d encourage you to take a look to see what appeals to you. I once watched a video on the sound quality delivered by cochlear implants and the problems doctors have in replicating the sound waves from music versus voice or other sounds. Best of all the videos are short – most about 5 minutes long or less. If you go there, be sure to tell me which video you watched.

Assignment No. 13: DOODLE or draw daily.

JULY 1-31…DOODLE or draw daily. “That’s a lovely drawing! What is it?”

This assignment could prove to be quite entertaining! What did you enjoy as a kid? I always liked art class with Mrs. “S”. Of course, those classes seem to stop after junior high school. I guess they figure if kids don’t show their creativity by then, they aren’t likely to. I am not particularly good at drawing but who can’t doodle? It can’t be that hard, can it? This month I’ll be working those synapses in the right side of my brain and seeing what happens. Did you realize that there is a website that can teach you how to doodle? Go figure.