Saturday, July 30, 2011

My vacation

God, I love this city! On Wednesday, I had some icky tests done and celebrated my bravery getting a pedicure, manicure and facial at a Gold Coast salon. I also had some yummy chocolate cake at this adorable little Belgian bakery, right there in the same building. I know, I know ... Dr. Phil says I'm not supposed to reward myself with food if I want to lose weight. But then Suze Orman says I'm not supposed to reward myself with impulse spending if I want to get out of debt. Well, what am I supposed to reward myself with? HEROIN?

Then I went into the American Girl store for the first time in a million years. I was inspired by a girl I saw on Michigan Avenue. There was a man wearing makeshift paper shoes going through a garbage pail, right there in front of Water Tower Place. And a young girl, maybe 11 or 12, carrying a big American Girl store bag (filled with a doll and outfits that probably set her parents back more than $150) placed a $1 bill in his hand. He said, "God bless," and she looked down, clearly embarrassed by his gratitude. I found this so moving. I hope her parents were proud.

When my niece was younger, she adored the American Girl dolls and books. In fact, this past summer, when she had a yard sale to raise money for college, the only toys she refused to part with were her American Girl "girls." Walking through the store, I understood why they spoke to her. The messages are plain, "American Girls are proud to work for their goals," "We're all American Girls," "American Girls are Smart and Nice." I could not be prouder of how my niece turned out in terms of drive, intelligence and social conscience.

So I bought two of the stories that she loved best, Kit and Josephina, for my Toys for Tots bag. Maybe this Christmas, two other little girls will be moved, the way my niece and that selfless little girl in front of the American Girl Store were.

Then on Thursday I spent the day with my nephew. More on that later ....

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