a cup of kindness

I stared at her. I’d never heard those words before.

Well, I’d heard the words before, but not in that order.

“The lady in the car in front of you paid for your coffee.” The words had come from the barista working the Starbucks drive-thru window.

My first thought was “why?” but then I remembered that people sometimes like to do nice things for other people. I forget that sometimes while I’m trying not to be killed by self-absorbed drivers on my commute to work.

I recovered from my shock. “Can I pay for the person behind me?”

“Sure,” the barista answered as I handed her my card.

I won’t lie, it made my day. Suddenly a cold, dreary Monday felt kind of awesome. I’d had a random, positive encounter with another human.

I’d never had a stranger pay for my coffee before. The thought had occurred to me, of covering someone else’s coffee. But then I thought, Do people actually do that or will they think I’m some sort of nutty millionaire or something?

It’s tough, sometimes, to find the right balance, that perfect spot between creepy nice and self-absorbed jerk. And on Monday, January 13, I got to benefit from someone else finding just the right balance.

Here’s to you, lady in the dark sedan. You inspired me.

(Oh, and in case you were wondering, this is the face I always make when I drink coffee. Even if it’s only in my mind.)

Halee with coffee

the deep freeze

In case you’ve been hibernating or in a coma for the past week, let me tell you: it’s been cold here in… the world.

Snow. Sun.

A polar vortex or arctic freeze or polar express from Antarctica swooped in a couple days ago and froze the world. Global warming now sounds like something we’d all pay good money for.

I’m pretty sure we never thought we’d be looking at normal winter temps, thinking I remember the good old days…

But there it is. You may find me wearing flip-flops when the temp finally hits 40.

But even when I feel like my fingers are about to snap off, I appreciate the winter. Why, you ask?

Because summer’s worse.

And to help me appreciate winter, even when I think my ears might’ve cracked, I made this list of what I like about this coldest of seasons.

  • It’s the perfect time to sip warm and cozy drinks like coffee, hot chocolate, tea, coffee, cider. And coffee. And then more coffee, for good measure.
  • Fuzzy socks. Not even kidding. It’s like walking on a pillowy cloud.
  • Snow is pretty to look at. I’m not a fan of being out in it, but if I can look at it out the window, I’m okay with that.
  • Layers. In the summer, you can only do so much to keep yourself cool. But in the winter, the options for warming yourself are vast. Layer on those shirts and sweaters and jackets. It’s like a choose-your-own-temperature situation.
  • Silence in the outdoors. Most people don’t linger outside during the winter. So there’s a delightful silence that accompanies the cold weather.
  • Fleece pajamas. It’s like being wrapped in the softest of blankets.
  • Static electricity. Yeah, most of the time it’s incredibly annoying. But then there’s that perfect moment when you and the carpet coordinate to zap your annoying coworker. Accidentally, of course. (Come on, you know you’ve thought about it.)
  • Hats! Gloves! Scarves! It’s a great time for knitters everywhere. We get to dig into the stash of things that looked like foreign objects in the middle of 90-degree weather.
  • Soup. It’s one of my favorite meals, only partly because it’s easy to make. And have you tried eating soup in the middle of summer? I have. It’s more than a little strange. But a steaming bowl of soup at the end of the cold day is perfect.

Ahh. Winter doesn’t look so bad now, does it?

So layer up, my friends, and drink your coffee. It ain’t over yet.