Blue Skies

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words so this will be brief. After a couple of days of cloudy, snowy weather, Colorado has decided to turn to its usual gorgeous azure blue.

So today, I’m grateful for this:

Rocky Mountain National Park in Fall. (Taken 10/2013). How can you not love this place?

Rocky Mountain National Park in Fall. (Taken 10/2013).
How can you not love this place?

What are you grateful for today?

Miscellaneous Gratitude

I’m going to try to hang in there for the last few days of 30 Days of Thanks despite falling off the wagon a bit. Today I’m grateful for:

* The fact that my in-laws have found a great place to live and will be living close to us here in Denver starting next spring.

* My son who’s coming home for the holiday tonight (fingers crossed on the weather!)

* My work, although that’s why this will be a brief post. I gotta get back to it!

What are you grateful for?

Pick Yourself Up…

Well, crap. Here I go deciding to be a dutiful blogger and be thankful every day and well…life intervenes. As it somehow always does around here. So, rather than abandon the effort altogether, I’m going to dust myself off and start all over again (in the immortal words of Jerome Kern, made famous by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers).

 

I’m grateful today for family and friends. In what has been a tough year, so many people have reached out a hand (literal or figurative / digital) to keep me going. And here I am, still going.

So thanks to all of you who’ve helped me this year. Whether you simply read the blog or left supportive comments, or you put up with my extended absences from writing due to illness. Some of you even listened to me whine about doctors…

Whatever you did, I’m grateful for it. So thank you. And I hope you have folks in your life to be grateful for too.

TGIF

I’m not usually a TGIF kind of person but I’m definitely feeling that way today. It’s been a rough week. Between a cold that won’t go away and a physical therapist who enjoys his job just a little too much, I’m ready for some rest.

It’s also been a week in which a customer threw me a really tough challenge at work – the kind of thing I usually love because I can really dig my teeth in – but just wasn’t quite up to handling this week. I’ll figure it out, I’m sure, but maybe next week when my brain is firing on all pistons and I’ve had a couple of consecutive nights of sleep.

So here’s to Friday, to a couple of days of rest, and to getting back to whatever my normal is these days. For that, and the fact that a rough week is ending, I’m grateful.

Happy weekend, everyone. Hope this weekend hands you things to be grateful for as well, even if it’s just spending the day in your PJ’s watching old movies, drinking tea with lemon and hugging a box of kleenex. If this cold doesn’t lift soon, I may well join you.

Why I’m Grateful

Every now and then, life offers up a little serendipitous moment in the midst of what can sometimes otherwise feel like chaos. I sometimes think that the real secret to happiness doesn’t require the wisdom of all those books sitting on the shelf of the local bookstore, not to mention the hundreds of self-help books you’ll find on Amazon. It simply requires finding and focusing on the good in our lives.

It seems like it should be easy, but our brains are trained to tune out the good in order to watch for challenges. When ancient humans lived in the wild, this was helpful, because if you missed the tiger in the bushes, it was bad news for you. Nowadays, though, we are more self-aware, and you would think that we would have lots of time to find these things, but instead, our primitive brains find ways to focus us back on the bad stuff.

Today is one of those days when it’s been tough to feel grateful. Nothing big and bad has happened, I’m just tired and I have a cold and my work is boring and I’m sick of eating my own cooking, and well, [insert your own complaint here]. As an antidote, I thought it might be fun to do a stream-of-consciousness post, listing as many things I’m grateful as possible in under five minutes. Here goes:

* I’m grateful that today is Thursday and my husband is coming home.

* I’m grateful that he gets to be home for the next two weeks.

* I’m grateful for my daughter and her oldest friend visiting from Iowa. I’ve known her friend since they were in preschool and she’s still one of my favorite people.

* I’m grateful for the physical therapist who worked me over this morning. (Or at least I will be when my shoulder stops hurting…)

* I’m grateful for the lovely lady from Santa Fe who bought my spinning wheel last week, freeing up space and cash for me to try something new.

* I’m grateful for NPR and particularly the Jazz station I just discovered. One morning earlier this week, they played Ella Fitzgerald singing “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.” I was spellbound for the entire song.

* I’m grateful for the choir director at the local Lutheran church who has invited me to sing in his cantata, even if so far I haven’t been able to attend rehearsals because of this cold.

* I’m grateful for Westie dogs, for obvious reasons. (Not including their mouse hunting skills).

* I’m grateful for Thanksgiving and the chance it will bring me to see my husband’s parents, my son, and the rest of the family who live near and far.

Wow, that’s a lot of things to be grateful, and I ran out of time before I ran out of reasons. I’m also grateful for the 30 Days of Thanks exercise and the people who came up with it, because it’s helping me break out of my rut and think more about the blessings in my life.

Oh, and one more thing – I’m grateful for my hairdresser, who is about to make me beautiful again (well, or at least cover my gray). Gotta run – hope you’re feeling grateful today too!

Chloe the Hunter

I don’t know if this really qualifies as a gratitude post but it’s too funny not to share. If you’re  frequent reader, you’ll know that I spend a lot of time on my own because my husband travels, and have as my constant companions a pair of Westie dogs.

Chuffy and Chloe, Hunters Extraordinaire

Chuffy and Chloe, Hunters Extraordinaire

They are great company, these dogs. They are big dogs packed in little bodies, with all the ferocity and charm that terriers always have. They’re so cute, in fact, and so smart that I sometimes forget that they’re actually dogs. Until last night, anyway.

My little boy Chuffy has always been quite the hunter and in fact has at least once taken down a full size rabbit. (Much to my dismay when I found him covered in gore and the remains of the rabbit all over the yard. He was very proud of himself).

His little sister Chloe, on the other hand, usually plays the role of cheerleader and is quite happy to stay on the deck while Chuffy does the fighting, although she’s happy to chase any rabbit that happens to come into the yard.

At night, our backyard is pretty dark because we have a big deck that blocks the light to the yard below. Because we back to open space, our neighborhood is filled with rabbits and coyotes. It’s not unheard of to have the occasional bear or mountain lion either. As a result, I’m not too keen on letting the dogs out after dark. But nature does call, so out they went. Chuffy came back first, and a few minutes later, there was a ruckus in the yard, as Chloe cornered something and proceeded to bark at it. Loudly.

“Great,” I think. Here I am, all alone, about to go save my dog from a coyote or a mountain lion or a bear or who knows what else. This is when a husband, son, or at least a working flashlight would come in handy, but I had none of the above. So, out I went, into the dark, to fetch the ferociously barking little dog and rescue her from whatever was trying to eat her.

Back inside, as both of our hearts started to pound less loudly, I began to wonder what it was that she had cornered. I saw no evidence of anything as big as a coyote or a mountain lion but I didn’t see a rabbit or a squirrel either. As for Chloe, she continued to bounce around the house as though hopped up on adrenaline from her encounter. (And given that she’s a Westie, ready to go back out. They were bred to chase vermin and have no fear).

This morning, as the dogs headed back out, I watched to make sure there were no critters in the yard. She trotted over and began to sniff heartily at the bottom of the drainage spout. At that moment, I realized that what I had “rescued” her from was likely a mouse that had taken shelter in the drainage spout to get away from the snarling, barking dog.

I’m grateful that it wasn’t a coyote, mountain lion, or bear. I’m equally grateful that no one was injured. I’m sure that whatever critter was in that drainage spout was very grateful when I pulled the dog back into the house. But I’m also a little embarrassed that I was scared (and yet brave) enough to go out and rescue her, thinking about what it could have been.

As for checking to see if it’s still in the drainpipe, that’s for a husband or adult son to look into. Remind me to take care of that flashlight one of these days.

The Healing Power of Sleep

(Or lack thereof)

Nothing makes you grateful for something like noticing that it’s missing. Sleep is one of those things in my life these days. We need it. After all, your brain doesn’t process things effectively into long-term memory without it. Without sufficient sleep, we are more prone to heart disease and people with diabetes have more trouble controlling their blood sugar.

That’s why it pains me when there are times like this week that sleep eludes me. I wish I could say it’s over some big existential crisis (not that I want one of those!) but my insomnia is more run-of-the-mill. Sometimes it’s just a factor of being the age that I am. This week, it’s thanks to the lovely cold that is still hanging on. It’s getting better but much more slowly than I’d like. I’m not the world’s most patient person, anyway, and I could certainly do without the annoyance.

Some days I wish I could be a Westie. They seem to be able to sleep anywhere, and they are very practiced at it. In fact, there’s a Westie sleeping under my desk as I write this, and the other is snoozing in the sun on my bed. For me, though, there’s no sleeping during the day, partly due to work and partly because I’ve never been much of a daytime sleeper. (Just ask my mom. I suspect there were fireworks over that once upon a time).

So what’s a girl to do? Here’s my plan. I’m going to take it easy, pamper myself, and go to bed whenever I darn well feel like it (which last night was 9:00 and the night before was as early as 8:00). Going against the “gut it out” American culture, I’m going to make it easy for myself to rest and get better. And when I do get a good night’s sleep, I’m going to be very grateful for it. Just the thought of that makes me feel better.

How about you? What are you grateful for today?