Archive for the ‘Favorite Blog Posts’ Category

Mary.

Monday, March 13th, 2017

 

 

 

Mary was a remarkable women.  I met her when I was only 21 and an intern sitting next to her in a cubicle at Commercial Environments. She didn’t much like me. And before you say…oh no Aimee I’m sure she did, you probably didn’t know Mary. You ALWAYS knew where you stood with her. She told it like it was. She didn’t do or say things she didn’t want to do or say. I learned to love her for that.

 

Mary started liking me when she knew I was serious about the job. I stayed late, I worked hard and she liked that. I loved it when she told me I’d done something well. I admired her so much. A single mom. She was so tough.

 

She took me on my first sales calls and taught me how to talk to customers. She taught me everything about that job. She helped me figure out how to make money when I was straight commissioned sales. She taught me how to talk to reps and customer service folks. She taught me how to fit a bunch of demo chairs in my crappy Mazda 323 hatchback Tetris style.

 

Mary was there for every important moment in my life. She and Adrianne were there when I moved into my first apartment in uptown where she taught me the right way to paint a wall, who knew there was a right way. Of course Mary did. She helped me set up my tiny, and I mean tiny little kitchen in that apartment with just the right gadgets. I can still see her standing in that kitchen with both arms outstretched touching opposite walls. “crap you weren’t kidding this is a small kitchen”.

 

She was there when I moved into my next apartment, this time with a boy. She was not happy about us moving in together and she let me know that. But she and Adrianne were there, helping me move and swimming in the pool. She was there when I moved into my first house where she taught me the right way to split and plant hostas we dug together out of her beautiful yard in Golden Valley. She hated that my new house was blue so she was very happy to climb the big ladder and helped me paint the outside of the house. She was there for my surprise 30th birthday party, she played the piano at my wedding, she met my babies within days of their birth, she encouraged me to start the yarn store and go for it.

 

I am so lucky to have visited her beloved family farm and met her tight knit family. I am so happy she found Tim and that I got to share in her big moments too.

 

Adrianne, I am so sorry that you lost your mom. My heart is breaking for you. She was so proud of the women you have become. We can’t take the place of Mary in your life. Let’s face it…she was one of a kind. But we will be there for you. Say the word.

 

Godspeed Mary.

Vogue Knitting Live 2016

Monday, November 7th, 2016

 
What a fun weekend!

 

Our first experience at Vogue Knitting Live was so much fun, even the Star Tribune thinks so!

 

dka-star-trib

 

What a fun way to wake up this morning!  Our cut out in the paper:)

 

We took so many pictures of all of you with the cut out…

 

vkl-carroll

 

vkl-back-of-cut-out

 

and we giggled along with you. What fun!

 

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We saw so many familiar faces, and met so many new people. We shared our Makers’ League kits and some of our most popular projects with the fiber junkies at Vogue Knitting.

 

Thanks for stopping to chat with us. We’ll have the cut out set up at the shop for your chance at the photo op:) We hope to see you soon!

 

Sweater Weather

Friday, September 30th, 2016

6 Years!

Friday, October 9th, 2015

 

It’s been 6 years since we officially opened the doors to Darn Knit Anyway.  6 years of dropped stitches, great conversations & building friendships.  It’s hard to believe. We’ve come a long way.

 

When we opened the shop, we had no idea what we were doing. What yarns to buy, what needles, what notions, what patterns? Those first few days Carly and I did Rock Paper Scissors to see who would help someone if they came in with a knitting problem. We didn’t want to win. We weren’t sure we could help.  We’ve come a long way.
 
We’ve come a long way and still have a long way to go! We will continue to have great yarns and samples for you to fondle.  We will continue be a place that is comfortable, easy and fun. We hope to always be able to say that we are more than a yarn store.
 
We aren’t having a big party today, no public celebration of 6 years, but we are celebrating.  Celebrating our little shop and the 6 years of beautiful, challenging, heartfelt, heartbreaking, hilarious memories we shared with all of you.
 
anniversary  anniversary 38
anniversary 37anniversary 36
anniversary 34  anniversary 33
anniversary 35  anniversary 32
anniversary 31  anniversary 30

anniversary 22   anniversary 28
anniversary 21  anniversary 9

 anniversary 17  anniversary 5
anniversary 8 anniversary 13
anniversary 12 anniversary 10

annierasry 23  anniversary 3

anniversary 2   anniversary 4
anniversary 11anniversary 14  anniversary 18  anniversary 19

anniversary 27  anniversary 24
anniversary 25 anniversary 29
anniversary 20  anniversary 15

  photo(265)  holiday window 2013
IMG_7840_opt(1) aimee carly_opt 

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Soooo many more photos we could add…thanks to all of you for being a part of our shop.
Thanks for everything!!

Wondering about Wonder

Saturday, October 3rd, 2015

I’ve wondered about my kids on this blog before.  I’ve wondered if you can teach optimism?  Turns out I don’t think you can:)

 

I’ve been wondering lately about wonder.  Can you teach a child to wonder about the world. To ask questions, to inquire, to be curious?

 

I don’t live in a family of talkers. Which is weird, because I am a talker.  When you come into the shop and I ask where you are from or what you are doing in town, I genuinely am curious.  But my family…we could be driving down the road and I’ll exclaim “Oh my gosh”.  It wouldn’t be strange if no one even acknowledged my exclamation.  Where is the curiosity? Didn’t they wonder what I saw or thought?

 

I’ll give you a few recent examples.

 

A few months ago, we had an extended family party at a park.  We loaded up the truck with our beanbags game, baseball mitts and coolers and backed down the driveway.  We got to the road and my husband unexpectedly pulled back into the garage.  He grabbed a pitchfork from the garage, put it in the truck, got back in the truck without a word and we backed down the driveway again.

 

Now, we don’t normally go around carrying pitchforks, so this is strange. I thought, I’m going to let someone else ask about the pitchfork. Even though my mind is screaming “WHAT IS THE PITCHFORK FOR?!”  Both kids saw the pitchfork.  No comments from the backseat at all. Didn’t the even wonder what the pitchfork was for?

 

I let the drive go on for a few miles until I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I say to my kids “hey guys, could someone craft a question for Dad about the pitchfork?”  Maggie says “Hey Dad, what’s with the pitchfork?”.  Jason says “we’re doing pitchfork throwing contests at the party”.  Obviously a joke, because that’s crazy. Neither kid bats an eye.  Oh. Of course. Pitchfork throwing contest.  As if we are in the habit of throwing pitchforks.  Not one follow up question or comment or even “come on dad”.  GAH!!

 

Another example happened a few weeks ago.  I was felting a bag in my front loading washer.  I was sitting in front of the machine looking in through the closed door.  Now, I don’t normally sit in front of the washer, in fact, I don’t think I have ever really looked at the wash as it was washing.  So this is unusual.

 

My son Max walked past the laundry room, looked at me, and kept on walking.  I didn’t get a “hey mom, whattcha doing there watching the washing machine”.  Seems an obvious question to me.  I would wonder.  So I say to him.  “Hey Max, come on back here and take my picture”.  I hand him my phone and he takes this pic.

 

Wonder?

Wonder?

 

 

He doesn’t ask why.  He doesn’t even seem to wonder why his mom just asked him to take a picture of her on the floor in the laundry room watching the washing machine.  How is that possible?

 

I say take another.

 

Please wonder

Please wonder

Nothing.  He hands me back the phone and off he goes.

 

I call him back.  “Hey buddy, did you even wonder why I was sitting on the floor in the laundry room looking at the machine?” He said “I guess.  What are you doing?”.  So I tell him and he asks a few more questions all on his own and then wanders off again.  Leaving me to the floor of the laundry room with my wonder about wonder.

 

The bag turned out great by the way.  In case you wondered, you can felt in a front loader. Oh and the pitchfork…it was borrowed and he was simply returning it;)

 

Basketball Refs and Us

Friday, February 14th, 2014


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I was lucky enough to get to watch a 4th grade girls basketball tournament on Saturday.  Big weekend for us…Maggie’s tourney on Saturday and Frozen Sing a Long on Sunday!
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These games aren’t exactly played under strict rules.  If you’ve ever seen a 4th grade girls basketball game, you know what I am talking about.  The refs help the kids out when they can.  They don’t call every travel or double dribble (they’d never get a full game in) they help the girls figure out where they should stand for free throws and throw ins.
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I was sitting next to a grandma from the other team during the first game.  At half time she said “wow, I don’t know how the refs do it, they must be so frustrated.”  The funny thing was, they didn’t look frustrated.
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It got me thinking about how 4th grade girls bball refs and beginning knitting instructors at DKA are alike.
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We teach beginning knitting class (knit 101) twice a week, every week.  We have a dozen or more new knitters come through our knit 101 class every 2 weeks.  I have been teaching this knit 101 class for 4 and 1/2 years.
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I hear at almost every class.  “You must be really frustrated watching me knit…I don’t know anything”.
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That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I love watching people learn to knit.  I don’t ever get frustrated or feel like they should be doing it faster or should have picked up on it by now.  Never.  Eventually everyone “gets it”.  You can see it in their eyes when they “get it”.  I love teaching people this craft.  All of our staff here feel the same.
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I’m guessing we’re a lot like the 4th grade basketball refs I saw on Saturday.  They seemed to love teaching people their sport.  They quietly whispered to the girls “you double dribbled that time” or “you can do it” when they seemed unsure.  They smiled when baskets were made (there weren’t too many).
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I think, like me, they like to think they had a hand in helping someone discover a passion.
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That’s what I love.  That’s what we love.  That’s why we are rarely frustrated teaching someone to knit!
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Oh and the girls lost all 3 games on Saturday.  They are just getting there basketball legs under them.   But they still have Spartan Pride:)
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1 Hour 48 Minutes of Pure Joy

Monday, February 10th, 2014

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Frozen. The movie. You’ve heard about it right?
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Well, the Pelletier house certainly knows all about it.
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We’ve seen the movie a bunch of times and listened to the soundtrack 10,000 times. I kid you not.
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Maggie dramatically drapes herself around the house singing to the dog and cat. She shuts her bedroom door, stands in the hallway, and recreates the “Do you want to build a snowman” scene. Parents, you know which scene I mean right?
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It’s no surprise that Maggie loves to sing.  I love to sing.  I love to sing at the top of my lungs in the car with the kids on the way to school, on the way to the lake, in the morning in the kitchen listening to KDWB.  Oh yes, we are THAT family.
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We’ve been singing along to musicals in my family since I was a kid.  Carly, my sister and I used to choose which characters we were in Grease and then sing along to the VHS tape version.  We’ve seen that movie 10,000 times.  I kid you not.
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So, when we heard that Disney had put out a Frozen Sing-A-Long version, I was all in.
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Last Sunday we got finally got the chance to see it.  1 hour and 48 minutes and $50 later, we’d seen it and it was worth every penny.
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If you want to see what pure joy looks like, get yourself a ticket and a bucket of popcorn and head to the theater. Hearing the voices of 50 kids singing along to these songs was so fun!  Some would stand up, some would gesture wildly, all of them sang at the top of their lungs!
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Lots of moms in the theater were singing along too, like me!  I have no doubt they too have heard the soundtrack 10,000 times.  I kid you not.
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Wanna see what the fuss is about?  Here’s a link
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No

What Motivates Them?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014


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I am never going to be an Olympian.  I can say that for certain.
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I’m not going to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys
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I am not going to win the Superbowl.
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These are things that I know for sure.
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In fact, I can’t even begin to imagine the discipline it must take to do any of these things; the focus, the determination, the sacrifice.
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Can you?
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I have run a few half marathons, I have biked a few MS150s, I have opened a yarn store and run it for almost 5 years, but these things pale in comparison to what others choose to do.
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Let’s just talk Olympic hopefuls for a second.  Some of these athletes train their whole lives for one try.  Can you imagine?  Training for years and then only getting one crack at it.  No second chances.  Man, you’ve gotta want it.
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It’s why I watch the Olympics with my hands over my face most times.  I can’t stand to see anyone fall, or fail.  I mean when a speed skater has one chance to make it to the next heat and she falls?!  Who cares what country she is from.   Or when an ice skater falls while trying to stick the landing of a triple sow cow something or another.  EEEEKKKK!  My heart falls.
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It’s all or nothing with the Olympics and lets be real here, more of them fail to win than get on the medal stands.   There are 294 medal opportunities in Sochi and over 3,500 athletes will compete.  Those aren’t great odds.
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I’d venture a guess that most of them know they don’t have a chance to medal. So, what motivates them?  And how do I instill just a bit of that drive and passion in my kiddos, heck, in me too?
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Our DKA Ravelry group is joining the Ravellenics fun this year.  Click here to link to our Ravelry DKA Page and join in some fiber challenges.
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Storm of the Century

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

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newspaper clip 1993

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If you’ve been paying attention to the news the last few days, you’ve seen the stories about the rare winter storm in the south.
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Georgia has been brought to a standstill because of ice and snow.
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Some people have been on the highways for 24 hours now.  Kids slept in school gymnasiums because parents just couldn’t get to school to pick them up.  Imagine that….a rare snow day off school and you are stuck IN school.  Oh the horror!
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Anyway, this recent storm has me thinking back to my own Georgia snowstorm experience.
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It was March 1993 and 3 of my college friends and I piled into my rusty red Mazda 323 hatchback and headed to Florida for Spring Break.  Now it’s worth mentioning that my mom did not want me to drive my car there, she thought for sure it would break down.  It’s for this reason I may have lead her to believe we were taking a different car.  The memories are fuzzy:)
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It’s also worth mentioning that the drive is something like 24 hours, cramped up in a tiny little Mazda 323.
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The visit to Florida was uneventful, although we were staying in a timeshare that was geared to “older adults”.   It wasn’t your typical spring break experience.  No sir…no MTV where we were.
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Here we all are…
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Spring Breakers - Dan, Jami, Me and Kori


 


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So, the trip was fun and warm and we had a great time.  We all piled into the car again for the long drive back to Madison.
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Here’s where it gets interesting.
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We came through Atlanta in the dark and the sleet started.  We made it about 30 minutes out of Atlanta to Acworth and decided to pull off the highway.   We found a Waffle House and we decided to sleep a few hours in the car, cause that’s what you did when you were poor and 21.  When we woke up the snow was covering the windows and we were cold!
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I tried the windshield wipers and they wouldn’t work.  We tried to drive to find somewhere that might help us repair them…I drove with my head out the window. We were in trouble!
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wipers...we don't need no stinkin wipers

 

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We somehow found a truck stop and tried to get some help.  I don’t remember much about it,  but in consulting with my fellow spring breakers, we think we had to buy some parts and a jumper cable too?  The memories are fuzzy.
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We learned that the highway was closed and we couldn’t get on it again if we tried.   So we spent 2 nights on the floor of a truck stop in Acworth, GA.
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They had NFL carpet and a big TV and lots and lots of truckers.  We watched tv and couldn’t believe that the town was shut down because of 5″ of snow.  We learned that Georgia had 3 plows for the entire state!
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It was at this point I thought I should call home.  This Storm of the Century was getting lots of play on tv…she probably would be wondering about me because I was a few days overdue calling her.  So I called with my calling card (remember those?) home.  I told my mom we were all ok and we were safe in a truck stop.  Dan was watching out for us.  Then I very casually said “oh and my windshield wipers broke”.  “YOUR windshield wipers Aimee?”  my mom said.  Oops.
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She was not happy.  Not happy at all.  Luckily, I had the fact that I was still alive going for me and she wasn’t too hard on me.
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NFL Carpet

Happy Sleeper

 

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Badgers and Beer

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When we finally heard they were letting people back on the highway, we were jumping at the chance to leave.  They all thought we were crazy.
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Anyway, we got on the highway and this is what it looked like.
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Highway 75

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I took us 9 hours to drive 40 miles.  CRAZY.  There we are in the very little red Mazda, the 2nd red car on the left.  I think Dan is sticking his head out the window.  People were playing frisbee in the road to pass the time.  The roads were drivable, but there were stalled semi trucks and other cars blocking the roads.  We were going nowhere fast.
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At one point we were so hungry and thirsty that Korinne and I decided to just walk to the next exit, leaving Jami and Dan in the car.  We walked a long way and then got the gas station and all they had were a few pops and chips left.  We bought some and headed back to the car.  It was dark at this point and we couldn’t immediately find the car.  We freaked out thinking we had somehow lost them.  Then we heard Jami’s voice calling us.  Ahhhhhh we were so happy!
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We were a few days late getting back to school, but so were a lot of other people. That storm of the century dropped snow all over the east coast and the south.
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So, I do have some idea of what people are going through who are stuck on a highway.  Let’s hope they are in a little better car.

And while it might seem horrific now, I’m guessing that in 20 years their memories will be fuzzy too.

A Knock on the Window

Friday, December 13th, 2013

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I drove my kids in this morning, we got kind of a lazy start to the day.  I live in Somerset, Wisconsin and we live about 3 miles from school.  I was in a long line of other carpoolers inching towards the light at 64 and 35.    I stopped to let a car into the line of traffic from a driveway.  He gave me the wave and I waved back.  No biggie.
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We made it to school and I pulled up to the drop off spot we always use and put the car in park.  I turned to give my kids our usual goodbye “ob shnob de gobble dobble” (thanks Nanny Jean) and out they went.  Off  to tackle whatever 3rd and 4th grade had to offer them today.
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I was watching them go and I heard a knock on my window.  I turned and a man was standing next to my car.
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My immediate reaction was “crap, what does he think I did and is he going to yell at me?”
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I was so anxious that I pushed the lock/unlock button instead of the window button.  He had me jumpy.
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I figured out how to lower the window and said hi.
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He said “Say, I just wanted to thank you for letting me into traffic.  It was the first time in like 5 years I haven’t had to push my way into that line.  So thanks, have a great day”
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WHAAAA?
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This guy actually got out of his car, which was 3 cars behind me at the drop off door (I know because I watched him walk away, I was too stunned to put the car in drive) and thanked me in person.  Wow.
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My first thought was how sad that no one lets him into the line of cars.  My second thought was how sad that my first thought was he was going to yell at me.

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Wonder why I thought it would be a negative exchange.
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I think we are conditioned for negativity.   On TV, the radio, pop culture, news…negativity is all around us.
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Wouldn’t it be great if you got a knock on your window and thought something awesome must be about to happen?
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You never know, it just might.
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