Archive for the ‘On The Crazy Side’ Category

Take the blinders off & look around!! Life's offering you joy at every turn. Are you able to SEE it?!

Sometimes I get notes from penny finders that absolutely make my day.  Pictures of finds, words of encouragement about my penny-finding obsession, or stories of my freinds’ own penny obsessed lives!   But sometimes the notes are way more than just a story.  Sometimes they get right to the HEART of what this project is all about.  And those notes…they make my week! 

This one was one such note.  A penny finding friend of a friend whom I’ve never even met in person but who clearly gets why it’s important to pay attention to the little joys life brings us! 

A big thanks to you, Sebouh for seeing the magic a penny can bring.  You didn’t just make my week…you made my month!  😉

I spoke to Nicole earlier this evening about the power of the penny and what it has meant to me in the past few weeks.  I explained to her that to me, the symbolism and act of manifesting the pennies or change, is the process that has been so impactful to me thus far.
It comes at a time where there is a fair amount of change going on in my life.  I am so excited about all of the change that I don’t know what to do.  Sometimes, I don’t know who to share the change with.  Just today, on my way to my sister’s house I was able to spot change while I was driving!  I pulled over, made sure I wasn’t about to get hit by oncoming traffic and honed in on the quarter that I spotted from my driver seat.  Then I continued to peruse the street and found another quarter and 3 more dimes.  It was quite astonishing and as I explained to Nicole earlier tonight, the grin on my face could have lit up a small village.
In short, (and I really mean in short) I wanted to share with you how much it has meant for me to be a part of this program.
Listen to how I worded it, program.
It’s not a program.

You don’t have to sign-up.
There is no fee required.
It empowers you to open your eyes – WIDER

And soak in more than you have previously.
It’s a wonderful thing and so I thank you.


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It's not everyone who's friends are willing to brave public restrooms in the name of coin finding. But my friends are high quality...and they frequently have to pee! 🙂

I really think I might be the luckiest person alive.  Not only do I have friends finding pennies and thinking about me when they do…but they often share their adventures with me via text, voicemail, or by actually delivering their found coins to me.

But my friend Rick took it to a whole new level.  Sure, some might consider it a LOWER level…but I consider this friendship in the truest sense!!  Just check out the e-mail I got with the attached photo.  If you were fuzzy on the location of the dime…the e-mail says it all!

Rick’s notes from the field (April 11, 2010)

Going the extra mile….Yes that is a toilet bowl.


Sent via BlackBerry

Thanks, Rick, for being a trooper in the world of penny finding!

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Hands down, Misty was the coolest bride ever.  Not only did she plan the perfect wedding, she also lasted 8 seconds on the bull AND…found a dollar for The Penny Project!

I have the best friends in the world. Really! In July, not only did I get to be a bridesmaid in my friend Misty’s wedding…but she ended up finding all sorts of money for The Penny Project! A dime at the rehearsal dinner. A dollar in the bar we hit post-reception (see the bull-riding pics of Misty in her wedding dress…best bull ride ever!). AND…she texted me from her cruise ship letting me know she’d already found 26 cents so far on the honeymoon.

But what does it all mean?

Clearly, these were all pennies from heaven! Not only did the universe smile on me giving me one of the most fun bridal party experiences on record…but it smiled on Misty & David with signs every day that they belong together. If $1.36 doesn’t tell you that…I don’t know what does!

I wish you both a life of happiness. And pennies of course! 🙂

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Who's the clown at the drive thru?!

One of the best parts about being me is the calls I get about penny finding. These calls are absolutely priceless and come more often than you’d think! Not a week after jumping out of my car at an on ramp, I got a call from one of my best friends telling me she’d done the same thing!

A few weeks ago I got a call from my dad saying he was stopped at a light and spied a few pennies out his window. He opened the door to get out and my mom yelled, “Do you see pennies?!” Not only did he think it was totally natural to just jump out of the car at this intersection…but my mom knew exactly what he was doing. And dare I say, she was jealous SHE didn’t see them so she could be the one to jump out in traffic!

Since many of these calls are conversations that I know the gist of but don’t have recorded, I can’t share the specifics of them with you. BUT…I do occasionally get a voice mail message. Those I CAN share with you!

Below are two recent voice mails I received Re: The Penny Project. I tried to punctuate to convey the emotion of the messages. Not sure I was 100% accurate…but I think you get the idea.

Enjoy what comes after my “beep”…and know that your penny messages are always welcome!
Call #1:
Hey Leslie, it’s Julia. I hope you’re havin’ a good week. I understand you’re being exhausted but I have this great penny story that I just had to share with you.

I was trying to go to Target near your house, um, for my little midnight run and unfortunately it closes at 10 and I got there at like 10 after 10, hoping that it was open until 11. No luck.

Anyhow…As I was crossing the street to get to the other side…um…I saw a penny. But it was buried in the tar so like the tail side was up and, um…but I had like 25 seconds…to cross. So I dug it out Leslie. I dug it out. I did. And I have the penny now with the dirty Lincoln face to show for it. That I hope to pass on to you. Soon.

Alright chica, God bless you. Will talk to you soon. Bye.

Call #2:
Penny, penny, penny, dime. YES! 13 cents at the McDonald’s drive thru. Oh yeahhhh.

So I looked like an idiot. I was like, “Oh…I dropped my change.” (Laughing) And she like rolled her eyes at me but I don’t care ’cause I got 13 more cents. I do have a lot of dimes come up for this year.

Ok, bye.

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You probably thought it couldn’t get any sillier than me hopping out of my car on the way though toll booths on the way home from my sister’s house. But you’d be wrong.

The weekend after my infamous toll booth score (tolls paid = $1.25, money found = $1.26, net gain = $.01), I had to go out to Ashburn again for a surprise slumber/birthday party (yes, this is my life). There were 4 of us in the car on the way out there and of course, I asked if anyone would mind a small delay in the toll booth area as I perused the road for dropped change.

Being my friends, the girls agreed (although they clearly thought I was nuts). Turns out it was an even better score than before as I found almost $1.50 at one of the toll booths. Yahoo! I was pretty excited and couldn’t wait to share my find with the other slumber party attendees (although a good half of us were in this car!).

My friends are used to my particular brand of crazy by this point, so no one thought it was unusual that I’d had the driver follow behind me as I walked through the toll area in search of change. Well…at least it wasn’t unusual for me (which is kind of sad now that I think about it!).

We had a smashing time that evening which included several bottles of champagne, a game of 31-questions on how well we knew the birthday girl (who was turning 31…hence the 31 questions), and a midnight viewing of “Step It Up,” which may have been the highlight of the evening.

But the REAL highlight of the weekend came the next day when 3 of us headed back to the city…through two more toll booths!

As we approached the first one, I hopped out of the car and commenced searching as my friend eased up to the booth behind me. The attendant looked at me and shook his head but was clearly enjoying my little display of change-gathering. I told him not to worry…my friend had an EZ-pass and we were definitely paying the toll. I let him know the change would be going to charity. He didn’t seem to mind and was friendly about the whole exchange. Sweet…over 70 cents collect and one toll booth operator amused for the afternoon.

Off to toll booth stop #2.

At stop #2, the traffic was a little crazy in the lane we chose. The guy two cars ahead of us was having some issues. This didn’t bother me in the least as it just gave me more time for my search. I hopped out a few car lengths back from the toll collecting basket and started looking. When the big, red SUV between my friend & the guy slowing down traffic pulled forward…I was in change-finding heaven. There were quarters EVERYWHERE! It was a change bonanza!

I threw up the official sign for stop, just like I was one of the Supremes or something, and halted my friend as I proceeded to snatch up the quarters.

Suddenly, I heard a voice from behind me…”Ma’am! MA’AM!”

“Oh, don’t mind me,” I said. “I’m just picking up change for charity.”

The woman did not seem amused. “There’s cameras watching you!”

“Sweet!” I replied.

Apparently, this was not what she wanted to hear. “Ma’am…you can’t do that! There’s cameras.”

At this point I realized she was not at all like the amused toll booth operator from the first stop. She was more like an evil rule enforcer and was about to take down my friend’s plate #s to make sure we’d get a ticket. I jumped back in my friend’s car screaming, “Go! Go! Go!” as we headed out of the toll booth area.

I’m not sure she actually got the plate number (and there has been no ticket sent to my friend). But I am sure we had a major score at that stop…13 quarters plus other assorted change equalling $4.55. Talk about an exciting day for penny finders everywhere!

So that is my latest change finding excursion. It may or may not have resulted in a $50 ticket for breaking some kind of un-posted “don’t get out of your car in a toll-booth” rule…but at the end of the day, I think it was worth it. We laughed all the way home!

I realize my brand of crazy isn’t something everyone aspires to (although my sister apparently tried to stop in a toll area the next day when traffic was much heavier and called me in amazement over my ability to collect so much change via the toll roads!) but I encourage you to find your own brand of crazy. Something that only you might be willing to do…but you know you’ll have a great time doing it.

And if you find a penny along the way…be sure to let us know!

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This penny project has sharpened my “Spidey Senses” to ridiculous heights. I’ve always had 20/20 vision and pretty good hearing…but suddenly I can see a penny from 2 blocks away and although I couldn’t determine exactly what a pin dropping sounds like, I can hear a penny hit the floor from across a crowded room. Not that this is a good gift, since my desire to add pennies to the spreadsheet combined with my new found talent for hearing coins hit the ground causes me to occasionally do something a little crazy. Take the other night for instance.

I was on a business trip to Florida, enjoying a tasty mojito in the lobby bar of Disney’s Yacht Club. Two of my friends had taken some time off of work to join me on the trip and we had linked up with some fun conference attendees, including a friend of mine from DC I was pleasantly surprised to see at the opening night reception! So there we were, enjoying a few drinks (number ? of many that evening) when the sound I love to hear hit my ear…change a jinglin’ as it hits the floor! I quickly looked around to see where the change had landed and if it was clear for a pick-up.

Now this is where the mojito(s) must’ve kicked in and overtaken my good sense because I didn’t stay in my seat when I saw that the change had fallen out of a man’s pocket (a well-dressed, distinguished man, if I recall…although I was so focused on the dime and 3 pennies I can’t say for sure) and landed practically under his chair. No, no. I popped up out of my seat and bee-lined for the table where the man and his friends were sitting. I promptly told him my friends and I were collecting change we find on the ground for charity.

He scoffed and said, “I’ll bet…the charity’s probably you.”
I assured him it was not and that there was a spreadsheet involved (I don’t know why I think that will assure people instead of scare them).
He shrugged his shoulders, told me to help himself…and then scooped another 7 cents out of his pocket onto the floor (which, for those of you questioning whether or not that should count, went in the “donations column” because clearly, at that point the man just wanted to give a little more to the cause!).

So there it is…my Disney find such as it was. Oh, and I picked up a nickel in the MGM Studios park too, so I was good for about a quarter in Florida! And I only scared a few bar patrons instead of my usual bus full of people. I consider that a pretty good trip!

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No  longer is The Penny Project’s blog  just for me & my friends (who support me so I don’t come across as a TOTALLY crazy person)…we went public at a comedy show a few weeks ago!

Yes, it’s true. We became an integral part of the Upright Citizens Brigade show at the Arlington Draft House on November 9th. I shamelessly jumped around like a complete idiot (in my pink striped rain boots, no less) to ensure I made it on stage so the 2nd half of the show would be based on whatever foolishness I could think to tell these people about myself during the on stage interview.

I didn’t start off with the penny story right away. That might have made me look a little nuts. Instead I led with, “My dad invented pizza rolls.”

Uh, what? These people didn’t quite know where I was coming from with this. Had they just invited Ms. Totino on the stage? Could my dad possibly be the true inventor of pizza rolls? I had to explain!

It turns out that one of my dates from match.com actually came up with the theory that we should change my dad’s official title from “Tim the Penny Collector” to “Tim–Inventor of Pizza Rolls.” It all started when I told him that in the 70’s my dad had entered the Pillsbury bake off by mistake. Actually, it wasn’t so much by mistake as it was on a fluke. With a recipe he’d never actually made.

“Tim” was at my grandma’s house, who was getting ready to enter one of her own recipes into the bake off. She asked if he’d like her to send in one on his behalf. Without giving it much thought he said, “Yeah. What if you put some marinara sauce, cheese & pepperoni on one of those crescent rolls, wrapped it up and baked it?” So she jotted down the spontaneous concoction and off it went in the mail.

Well…sure enough the folks at Pillsbury saw the genius in it all and picked his recipe as one of the 100 to be made at the official bake-off. My mother was slightly less thrilled than he was because she had to be his guinea pig as he perfected his yet-to-actually-be-baked crescent pizzas. Morning, noon, and night she was eating variations of his new concoction until she felt she might actually bleed marinara sauce if someone sliced into her.

So, a few weeks later my dad and 99 women prepared to “start their ovens” and make their recipes for the bake-off. While my dad was not the overall winner, he did bring home a sweet 1970s microwave (I’m pretty sure we had that sucker well into the 90’s) and the memories of the rally cry, “Ladies…and “Tim”…start your ovens!”

Alright…that brings me back to my date. After he heard that story he just looked at me and said, “Oh my God…your dad invented pizza rolls!” And what could I do but agree?!

Ok, so after I wowed the improv comics with my dad’s pizza roll adventures (and they asked me to thank him for satisfying years of munchies), I moved on to the penny story. Of course, I don’t need to restate that story here because if you’re reading this…chances are you’ve heard it more times than you care to count! But I will add that I must’ve entertained & amused the audience with the penny tale (or at least inspired them to give a small amount to charity) since at one point it rained pennies from somewhere in the 2nd row! Sure…it was only 3 cents…but it’s going on the spreadsheet!

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