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Friday, December 2, 2011

How To Be Human

Uh oh. Union Riveter Krissi's gone all "good will toward men" on us this week!

I'm taking a break from my usual DIYs today as I've been completely overwhelmed with orders in response to a fundraiser that I'm deeply involved in for a very good friend's very ill rescue dog. Meanwhile, I've been supportive of another friend who was having landlord issues in the midst of a rather untidy divorce. However, while I was trying to switch gears and write this week's post, I realized I'd learned a great deal this week and that it would make a good "how to."

What brought tears of joy to my eyes during the doggy fundraiser process wasn't large purchases or donations (though they are very much appreciated). Rather, they were the notes, the reposts, the requests for updates and the unbelievable amount of support I saw people giving my friend. Some knew her well, some knew of her (she's a musician & artist who is married to another musician artists, both of whom ran a coffeehouse for years in Sacramento) and some who had no idea who she or her dog were, but who wanted to help. I honestly don't think she would have been able to get through this without that emotional support.

On the landlord issue, my talent for reading and interpreting contracts and regulations came in handy and probably saved my friend (really, she's more like family) anywhere from $4,000 to $5,500 dollars. That's some serious cabbage. Plus, the landlord was a straight up bully and was making illegal demands of a single mom which I just don't cotton to. I can write a very official sounding letter outlining contract issues in my sleep (having been raised by wild attorneys and all), but my friend was over the moon happy with what I did for her. What was no big deal to me really saved her and her children some financial hardship.

The little things really do matter. Try one or two - I've been happier in the last two weeks than I have in a LONG time.

  • Do something nice for a stranger.  Yesterday I moved a branch off the sidewalk as I saw a dad with toddler and stroller approaching.  Cost me nothing and he smiled and thanked me.
  • Say "thanks."  There are never enough thank yous in the world - it's not like there's a supply that's going to be used up.
  • Be conversational with folks in service jobs - most people are either mean or ignore them.  Ask the checkout person how they're doing.  Don't answer your phone while you're checking out.  Be cheerful with your mail carrier. 
  • Listen.  You don't need to solve every problem for people.  Sometimes they just need to hear "Wow.  I'm sorry.  That really sucks." or "You're doing the right thing, even though it's tough."
  • Overtip when you get coffee. <--- that's a good one.
  • Help a friend.  What are you good at?  Fixing things? Staying calm in a nasty situation?  Lifting heavy stuff?  Changing oil or brake pads?  Can you babysit or critter-sit so friends can go out for an evening?  Do it.
  • Give little gifts for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  Sometimes my husband will bring me home a card from CVS just because the kitty on it looks like my beloved old orange tabby.
  • and then there's the Pay it Forward concept:
Earlier this week, Brooke had a Pay It Forward challenge on her fan page and the responses were incredible. I think people started off trying to win a bag and ended up feeling darn good about everything. After the doggy fundraiser (we have raised over $900), helping my friend (she sounds happy again!) and the posts on Brooke's page, I was pretty much a blubbering, yet happy, mess. It was awesome.

I think that's enough sappiness for one week. I'll return next week with something involving either an adhesive or marketing. And no crying. Promise. Glue is serious stuff.

Krissi Sandvik is a mixed-media artist and the owner of Krissi's Art Studio, home of Skelekitty and Friends. She was recently named "best tutorialer on the web" by her friend Rachelle Rose and she publishes a tutorial or "Ask Krissi's Art Studio" feature on Fridays here at Modern Rosies.


  1. A very uplifting post, and wonderful to read and remind us that people out there are still worth the effort!

  2. Being a human RULES! Especially when you can every once in a while be a tiny speck of awesome in someone else's life! ;)

  3. Yep, Pili! I forget that a lot of the time - I figure 'cause the meanies are louder than the good ones, but I truly think the good ones are far more plentiful.

    It's good to be a tiny speck of awesome, Brooke (and you would know).