Category Archives: Events

What a Way to Pad Your Résumé

You know what day it is today, don’t you? It’s Tampon Tuesday – or “Maxi Mardi,” If you happen to live in Montreal. No, it’s not a day dedicated to feminine hygiene. (We kind of hope you take care of that pretty much every day on your own.) Rather, one Tuesday a month, Jack Astor’s Bar & Grill restaurants in three Canadian cities collect donations of tampons and pads for the food bank, in exchange for an evening of free food and business networking.

See, when you’re living close to the poverty line, it gets mighty expensive to host your Aunt Flo for five to seven days. With Tampon Tuesday, this monthly event makes it easier to, well, cope with your monthlies.

The first Tampon Tuesday was launched two years ago in London, Ontario. According to organizers, over 4,000 boxes of feminine hygiene products have been collected thus far. And now the initiative has expanded to restaurants in Toronto and Montreal. So if you live in one of these cities and don’t have plans for later, why not put on a suit, buy a pack of Kotex, and come make connections?

It’s a worthy cause. And giving is good. Period.

Have a Heart. Then Give It Away.

I know this blog usually spreads good news. And I apologize in advance if that’s what you’re counting on. I don’t mean to bum you out on Valentine’s Day, of all days, when every moment should be filled with candy and sticky kisses and almost unbearable sweetness.

But today’s story is bad news. Specifically, it’s a new report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) about organ donation – or, rather, organ non-donation. CIHI says that the number of organs donated over the past five years has not gone up, while the need for the organs has been rising. End result? A wider gap between the haves and the have-nots.

Organ donation is a supreme act of generosity. It can happen if you’re living or dead – depending on the organ, of course. There are some you really can’t manage without. Others, you won’t really miss.

Organ donation saves buckets of money in health care, and makes life a heck of a lot more pleasant for the person who gets the new kidney or liver lobe. Yet thousands of Canadians are waiting every year, and some don’t survive.

What can you do? Sign your organ donor card, or, depending where you live, join an online registry. Have a body parts pow-wow: Tell your next of kin what you want done with your vitals after you no longer need them. Spread the word.

Then kiss a loved one. Because it is, after all, still Valentine’s Day.

Dozens of Canadians are waiting for a heart transplant they may never get. Won’t you be their valentine?

Ha Long Bay, Hello!

This isn’t something my own personal post-holiday bank balance will permit me to indulge in, but it could be a dream trip for someone who has the cash ($4,300 plus tax) and the time (March 3 to 17). It’s called the Adventure Yoga Retreat and it’s a way of doing a good deed for yourself and for others at the same time.

The “yoga” part is probably self-explanatory. The “adventure” part refers to the fact that you’ll be doing your sun salutations and downward dogs on beautiful Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, home of hundreds of breathtaking limestone islets and caves. Organizer Adam Quang, a yoga, tai chi and meditation instructor in Toronto, chose this location because of the epiphany he himself felt while kayaking at sunset here. In his words, “Suddenly, I feel so alive – as if every sense of my being is expanding… I feel connected to all beings… In this moment I think, ‘This is what I want people to experience!’”

Adam connected with me recently through a mutual friend. He thought his work might be right up my alley – he was right. Adam has founded an initiative called the World Karma Project to encourage acts of kindness, which he believes can prevent wars and eradicate hate. According to his math (I haven’t verified this because big numbers intimidate me), if one person performed one good deed per month, and each of those twelve recipients performed good deeds for twelve more people, then by the time this karmic pandemic has spread eight times, over 5 billion people will have been touched by kindness.

Now because Adam is all about building up your own karma bank, part of the money you pay to go on his Ha Long Bay retreat will send a Vietnamese child to school for a year. Another portion will be donated to a trust fund for the family of a Toronto woman who was killed in a cycling accident. It’s the first time Adam has put together a retreat like this, so if you want to get in on the Ashtanga action, click here to learn more.

Namaste!

Photo of kayakers at sunset on Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

That’s the Ticket

Wouldn’t you rather pay for your parking tickets with karma instead of cash? Yesterday a B.C.-based parking management company was offering a special deal to drivers with past parking violations: Bring your unpaid tickets to one of four Salvation Army locations, donate a new toy for a needy child for the holiday season, and wipe your record crystal-clean. A spokesperson for the Imperial Parking Canada Corporation (Impark) claimed there’d be no limit imposed. Got 10, 11, 12 tickets? Give a dozen Let’s Rock Elmos or Nerf Vortex Nitron Blasters, and all fines would be forgiven.

It’s dubbed Toys for Tickets. “It’s a spectacular event. It usually draws a huge crowd,” Senior VP Julian Jones told a reporter in the week leading up to the event. “We raise just a huge number of toys and it’s a great amount of goodwill.”

All in all, thousands of unpaid parking tickets – along with even more toys – were turned in yesterday to four B.C. locations. “The people were very generous with the toys that they donated. It was beyond successful,” an obviously elated Sally-Ann spokesperson told the media.

If you live elsewhere in Canada and have a big heart (not to mention a sordid history of parking violations), take note. Toys for Tickets events are planned for other communities in the upcoming weeks, like Red Deer and St. Albert in Alberta, and Niagara Falls and Oshawa in Ontario.

Now if only someone would launch a Toys for Utility Bills…

In the Mood for Movember

Ready to pony up some ’stache cash? Today marks the first day of Movember, the annual worldwide fundraiser for prostate cancer that sees men of all shapes and sizes growing hairy lips of all shapes and sizes. Some of it may be visually unsettling, but it’s all for a good cause.

Last year I had the pleasure of cheering on several Mo’ Bros and their crumb-catcher campaigns for charity. This year I can’t wait to find out which of my male pals, colleagues, neighbours and family members are preparing to sport a ’stache for cancer research. (Tallying the facial growths of total strangers can also be an interesting pastime. Last November my daughter and I spotted a most bushy and disturbing mo’ on a fellow transit rider, and immediately turned to each other with the same unspoken question: Is it for Movember, or is he always this creepy looking?) You go, guys. Way to keep us guessing.

Lisa with a moustache

In the spirit of solidarity, I’ve created my own fashionable fuzzy. It’s official… I’m a Mo’ Sista!

DON’T Curb Your Enthusiasm

Dear readers, happy International Enthusiasm Week! According to the cloud, September 1 to 7 is dedicated to demonstrating enthusiasm for every person, project and possibility you happen to meet. So if total strangers beam at you, babble happily to your adorable (but of course he is) baby, or gush over your midcentury-chic skirt, they’re probably just getting into the spirit of the season.

Of course, it could be that they’re in a good mood because today also happens to be a birthday shared by a trio of Hollywood hunks, namely Keanu Reeves, Mark Harmon and Tuc Watkins. (I don’t want to play favourites, but let’s just say that Keanu is the only one whose name appears on my freebie list.) And there’s lots of other celebrations going on right now, too: September is Biscuit Month, Chicken Month, Yoga Month and Head Lice Prevention Month. So very many reasons to smile.

Seriously, though, I don’t think we need to confine our enthusiasm for others to a single week of the year, do we? Just as it’s not a good idea to save nit inspections for only September. But if establishing an International Enthusiasm Week gets more people practising positive vibes in their daily lives, then why not? Right now I’m feeling very enthusiastic about a strong cup of coffee. Does that count?

What, or who, are you enthusiastic about this week?

Child with very enthusiastic expression

How soon do we start?

The Party’s Just Beginning

What do you call a blog that’s 100 posts old? If it was human, it would be a centenarian. So what… a centebloggian? Doesn’t that sound like some kind of hybrid alien with horse legs and a penchant for archery? Be that as it may, as of today, 50 Good Deeds is officially a centebloggian. Thanks to all of you for visiting, reading and commenting along the way to 100 posts.

While we’re on the topic of vocabulary, to celebrate this blog’s milestone I thought it would be fun to share a good-deeds glossary of sorts. (I hope you like it, too. As a wordie, I tend to overestimate the degree of entertainment in this kind of activity.)

Here are a few of the captivating words and phrases I’ve come across in my explorations about niceness.

Helpers’ high: Better than recreational drugs, that feeling of euphoria and well-being after doing something for another person.

Oxytocin: Better than prescription drugs, a hormone triggered by acts of compassion towards others. Oxytocin, also known as the bonding hormone, makes us feel loved and connected.

Elevation: The emotional lift you get from observing a good deed in action. Warning: Elevation has been known to raise your risk of performing additional kindnesses.

Karma dollar: That lost looney you randomly find on the sidewalk. To complete the cycle of karma, it should be given away charitably. Urban myth states that you will be rewarded later with extra-good luck.

Kargasm: The explosively fabulous feeling that results from the above-mentioned act of feeding your own karma with kind behaviours.

Soul cash: The result of taking good deeds straight to the bank for a deposit… into your inner character.

Compassion-altruism axis: The term coined for the regions of the brain that are activated when we feel empathy and compassion.

Thanks again for being part of my first 100 posts! Enjoy the celebration! I’d have brought cake, but I know it’ll go straight to my axis.

Bouquet of flowers