Gratitude -

I am grateful for a visit today from friends Gord and Elizabeth. We used to see each other fairly regularly in Vancouver; these days, those occasions are fewer and far between. It was nice to catch up, play some guitar, and expose them to the ongoing cacophony that is the life in our household these days.

I am grateful for a computer, an actual non-laptop computer, that we’ve finally set up as such here at home. Usually I thumb these entries in on my phone. It is sublime to type right now with my 1990s vintage clackity keyboard. Added bonus: family photo slideshow screensaver in the living room.

I am grateful for the Jaquie Lawson digital advent calendar my grandmother sent to our family this year. I have to admit, when I first got the link, I thought it was likely spam, or some scam that my poor old grandma had fallen victim to. NOT SO! This little app has entertained my kids every day, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for a few hours, since we got it. It’s all pretty basic, nice little animations and the occasional puzzle or “decorate the Christmas Tree” type game, but it’s nicely executed, entirely okay (for this parent at least) to let the kids play with on their own, and at $4, very reasonably priced. For the record, I’m not getting paid or rewarded in any way for writing this; I’m just genuinely impressed with that thing.

 

Gratitude – Gingerbread men

I am grateful for an easy, uneventful day at home. I needed it, and it was possible because Julie took the brunt of the kids for most of the day.

I’m grateful for some awesome gingerbread that came out of our kitchen today. Aside from taste-testing, I was largely uninvolved, but Cooper and Farley were VERY involved, and are apparently very adept with a rolling pin. The first photo in the series above is what Coop did when Julie said, “Okay, pretend you are a chef who just made something really delicious!”. He didn’t have to pretend, but I think he may have exaggerated for dramatic effect anyway.

I am grateful for the return of a cello I’d nearly forgotten about lending to a friend a good long while ago. We had it kicking around, but we weren’t using it much, and she expressed interest, so we offered to lend it to her way back when. That was years ago now. Turns out she’s since learned to play the dang thing, and has moved on to buy her own cello. So now I’ve got this cello to futz with. Youtube, what do you have for me when I search for “How to play the cello” videos? In the next few days, I’m going to find out!

Gratitude – Thai

I’m grateful, to know Thai. Thai is one of a pair of kind and gentle dogs that both my kids have known since they were both very little. Anyone who has seen me around dogs know I’m not much of a dog person. I fear dogs, and dogs smell fear. If Thai ever smelt me being afraid, he must have disregarded it as he sauntered up slowly and casually offered up a neck to be scratched. He also never shows any fear when Coop or Farley give him big, sudden, unannounced hugs around his belly, or tug on his tail or ears. Thai just always seems to be content with whomever he is with. I can’t imagine being as comfortable around any other dog, except his stepsister, Paddy. It’s a sad time for Thai and his family though. Thai has Cancer. There’s nothing to be done about it. I wish there was because it saddens me too, but I’m privileged and glad to have known such a great dog.

I am grateful for a Christmas concert put on by Coop’s beaver colony in an assisted living facility. Julie and I were performing, too, accompanying Christmas carols with ukulele and guitar. It was folksy and rough around the edges, and it was also fun. The crowd seemed appreciative, but also quiet, and perhaps not appreciative at all. Hard to say, but there were a few moments I could see everyone present singing. It was a nice event to be involved in.

I am grateful for the performance of ‘Let it Be’ I heard one of the nurses sing and play on the piano while we were on our way out of that same assisted living facility. It was how music should be. It was human. It was unamplified, and so acoustic. It was casual. It was as much for the musician as it was for the audience.
It wasn’t an extraordinary performance, but it was beautiful and it dovetailed perfectly into the time and space it occupied. In this age of auto tuners, digital rights management and aspiring-musician-based reality shows, it’s great to see music occur naturally in its native habitat.

Grateful – Christmas Concert

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I am grateful for the opportunity to see Cooper’s Christmas Concert at his school today. I’d been warned by several other parents that it can be pretty boring sitting through all the other kids performances. I might be more easily entertained than most, but I found that to be completely untrue. I was riveted the whole time. No joke. These kids were rocking harder than the stones. Were they on key and on time? Sometimes, but rarely. Were they giving it their all? 110% YES. Seriously. If a bunch of grade school kids belting out christmas carols with their voices, recorders and ukuleles isn’t nice, what is? AND, I might add, I was super excited to see Cooper super excited to perform. It was awesome.

I am grateful for the popcorn that Julie just made me. Lunches are made. Kids are in bed. the day is done. I am grateful for that, too.

I am grateful for Farley, just because he is Farley, and Farley is awesome. He’s awesome in many ways, but right now I am grateful for his excitement to put on his “fuzzy feet” slippers. Man, it doesn’t take much to make that kid really, really, ecstatically happy sometimes.

Gratitude – decisions

I am grateful Farley calmed down. I’m on my own with the boys tonight; Julie is working. He had a great day at daycare, but since laying eyes on me (and NOT his MAMA) when I came to pick him up, he was less than enthused and was vocal in his dissatisfaction. Not sure why it changed. Perhaps it was the egg nog ice cream for dessert, or maybe the extended Australian rules tickle fight with me and his brother. One way or another, after a good long while we were pals again.

I’m grateful we’ve put a few big decisions behind us on the reno. Cabinets: check! Flooring: check! Front door: check! The thing about decisions is they are hard to make, and even harder when they aren’t cheap, and harder still when you are making them with another stakeholder, and even more is at stake when the other stakeholder is your spouse.

I am grateful for quiet hours at my desk puzzling my way through the programming I do for a living. It takes my mind off of everything else when I am in that zone. The escape I find in the absorption of the task at hand can be sublime.

Grateful – soup

I am grateful for soup, especially when I am making it just because I have a bunch of stuff I want to use up, and then it turns out to be a really good combination of ingredients. Score!

I am grateful for a job where I can work from wherever.

I am grateful for reno progress. It’s exciting and fun to see it move along a bit each day, but I’ll be relieved and happy when the project is complete, and again even more so when someone is in there renting the suite.its coming along nicely though, and that’s good.

Grateful – with disclaimer

First, a word about this blog. A disclaimer, if you will.

While this whole gratitude exercise is truthful, it is misleading. It makes my life look like a series of perfect moments. I do not intend it that way; it’s an exercise for me to record the perfect moments, because I want to remember them amongst all the sub-perfect ones. Fact is, 2014 has been a really tough year. Last week was a really tough week, and yesterday was a really tough day. I don’t want to be a bummer, quite the opposite, but I don’t like misrepresenting myself either.

Enough said. Onward!

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I am grateful for where I live. We were at the beach today. Not in a swimming, sunscreen, splashing in the waves kind of way, but there was sand, there was sun, and while there was also winter coats and hands that should have had gloves, there were kids playing by the water, climbing on the rocks and getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Great stuff! Side note: I am grateful for Coop’s friend’s mom (and my friend too), for the invitation to get off my duff and do something fun with the kids.

I am grateful for a tidy house. It was vacuumed, kitchen was scrubbed and the dishes were done, for a period of about 8 hours, from after we went to bed last night until we all got up this morning. It’s pretty much decomposed into a mess again since, but it was clean for a moment, and that’s enough for me until next weekend.

I am grateful for an evening on my own. Julie had the kids, I washed my grandpa’s 1972 Buick, bought a shiny electronic bluetooth trinket and saw a movie. I was in need of a little respite from the awesome, so truly awesome, but exhausting, so truly exhausting experience that is life with 2 working parents and 2 kids.

 

Gratitude – Star on top of the tree

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I am grateful for Wes Anderson, because he makes cussing awesome movies, like the Grand Budapest Hotel, which I just watched, and thoroughly enjoyed.

I am grateful for popsicle sticks and a glue gun in the hands of Coop. He’s a whiz with them, and with very little help from me, he fabricated skeleton of the star that sits upon our tree with them.

I am grateful for Farley, who in a fit of silliness, started calling me George. I started calling him Fred. It’s hilarious. Know why? Because he thinks it’s hilarious. Know why he thinks it’s hilarious? I don’t. Even if you did, it really wouldn’t matter. It’s hilarious, and that’s all I need to know.

Gratitude – christmas lights

I am grateful for more reno progress. This week we saw the delivery of the bathtub that’s going in downstairs. That marks the first thing that’s gone in that will be exposed after the reno is done. Now that it’s underway I’m
Impressed by how fast it’s all happening.

I am grateful for an evening checking out Christmas lights. I came across this list in FaceBook, and we’ve been almost all the way through the first half. They were all great, but if you are in town, DO NOT MISS 783 Hutchinson AVENUE. It was seriously amazing, and if you go, make sure you also get out of your car and check out the backyard and garage.

I’m grateful everyone is in bed and asleep. Our kids have been ill this last week with coughs and sniffles. So far so good, but one never knows what might await us in the middle of the night, after we hit the hay.