Yesterday I participated in Indy Read’s ‘Scavenge Mass Ave’ with my friend Annie. The scavenger hunt is an annual fundraiser to help support their adult literacy programs and I jumped at the chance to go when Annie mentioned it to me. My mom was a kindergarten teacher for forty plus years, so I grew up surrounded by books.
It was also a great opportunity to explore businesses located on Mass Ave that I was not familiar with. I am embarrassed to admit that I had never been inside Mass Ave Pub, the Art Bank Gallery, or the Sneaker Exchange, which was way too hip for me. All of the sneakers were wrapped in plastic and the first pair I picked up were $175. I will stick with my Converse.
There were three color coded routes to ensure that none of the locations were too crowded with scavengers waiting to have their clue signed by an Indy Reads volunteer. Annie and I did the pink route and were only stumped by two of the fifteen clues. We quickly figured them all out and planned our route. The volunteer at each stop also shared a trivia fact relevant to adult literacy. For instance, more than 70% of prison inmates do not have a high school degree. Reading is fundamental to everything we do, yet we take it for granted. Reading traffic signs, menus at restaurants, a map…..the list is endless.
My favorite stop was at Nine Irish Brothers. The trivia question was to name one of the five books currently listed on the New York Times bestsellers list. After a bonus clue, I guessed Hamilton since the Broadway play is everywhere. He then asked me for Hamilton’s first name to which I said, ‘Alexander.’ Sadly, he said no one had gotten it right all night. As a Political Science and History major, I am slightly mortified that people couldn’t think of his first name. Another stop had us spell ‘cinnamon.’
On our way back down Mass Ave to return our completed scavenger hunt sheet, Annie and I stopped at Yogalatte for frozen yogurt. It was bittersweet – the last time I went there was a couple of years ago with Denver. We sat for hours on the bench outside, just enjoying our time together. We had a dog with us, but I cannot remember whose dog. I didn’t have Winston at the time and she didn’t have Moose, but we had a dog because I went inside and mixed her yogurt flavors for her, with a generous amount of sprinkles on top. Annie was a Denver friend and we share that void in our hearts, so she was the perfect person to have a celebratory frozen yogurt with.
I still struggle with not being able to tell Denver the random, little everyday things. Like after a really bad date that she would have laughed with me about. Or my cookie subscription endeavor and accidentally ordering teeny tiny boxes from Amazon. I have learned a lot since January. I have more insight on things that have occurred and on the people in my life. I am more drawn to people that have experienced loss than I was before – my perspective has shifted and I try not to sweat the small stuff.
We may not have won any of the prizes, which were randomly awarded through a raffle ticket drawing, but Annie and I were certainly victorious in our efforts.
UPDATE ON LIBBY AND WINSTON’S COOKIES
I need to find a way to make it sustainable. While nothing makes me happier than mailing cookies to friends and family, I am not sure how realistic it is. I spent $65 on shipping to mail less than 10 boxes during my first round of shipment and donations have ranged from $7-30. I was shocked at the $30 (someone actually did the math and accounted for shipping, ingredients, AND my time). The $7-10 range barely covers the shipping and the materials to ship (the box, gift bags, tags, tissue paper, etc.), which means that this may not be sustainable long term.
I enjoy it, but I also don’t want to lose money as a result of taking a hobby that I am passionate about and attempting it on a large scale. Disclaimer: I am cheap, so I understand not wanting to pay a lot, but the shipping is a killer. My BFF Steve at USPS was excited to see the pile of boxes last week – he has always told me that I should have a cookie business and I finally (sort of) do!
Patience will also be a requirement for anyone that requests cookies. Most people have written in their emails to me that they do not expect the cookies tomorrow, but it will take time! I spent five hours baking and only made 8 dozen cookies. I have approximately 104 dozen to go for this month, so patience is appreciated! I am stubborn enough to get this done, but amazing customers (like all of you!) make it worthwhile.
The last lesson (for now) is that I cannot accept custom orders every month. Making seven different kinds of cookies was really time consuming and confusing. I had to write the flavors on the boxes and even then, I would find myself a few cookies short and I would have to start another batch. A flavor of the month, plus chocolate chunks is the way to go. A happy Libby = better cookies.
Thanks for all of the support! XO