Gratitude – Florence Melia, The Board Game Cafe, Enough Work

I am grateful for Florence Melia. Born in Sweden in 1920 her family moved to Smithers, BC. She became a teacher, my guess is that happened as soon as she could after high school. After attending college in Victoria, she moved back, and taught in a one room school. Her first class had her youngest of 4 sisters in it, Betty. A couple years went by, and by the time she was at 24 she’d fallen in love with a man that worked for the CPR named Wilfred. They bought a farm together in Dawson Creek, way up north. The town in Sweden she grew up in when she was barely a toddler was just shy of the arctic circle; perhaps that made her nostalgic for colder weather. They had a son, Wayne, in 1946. I bet she had some fine years, starting and raising a family, after that.

But then her husband died in 1962, too early, due to illness. He was in his early 50s. She was determined that Wayne should get the farm, and continued teaching first grade. Her son and my father became friends; he was in Dawson Creek when he was a kid, too. She eventually did give the farm to Wayne. He worked that land for 17 years. I’m not sure when she moved to Victoria, but she did. She must have liked it here when she went to College, long before.

I I knew her because she was the mother of a friend of my dad’s. That’s a tangental, dismissible relationship if ever there was one, but when she heard I was moving to Victoria for University, she made sure to get my number. She called me, and invited me over for dinner.

I was a guest at her table not once, but several times over the next few years. I remember her fondly. She was a sweet old lady, I was 18 when we met, and I had just moved away from home, to a different city, in a different province, from the only address I’d ever lived at before. My first year of university was exciting and new in many ways, but I remember being homesick, feeling lonely, and overwhelmed. Her hospitality came to me as a relief. It was more nourishing for me than she could have known. She’d remark on how I looked like my dad when she knew him. Sometimes she’d confuse me for him, and call me by his name, which I found endearing. I remember her chocolate cake, and I learned today that many others did too. She earned a reputation for it with Wayne, my Dad, and his friends when they were younger.

I learned that at her funeral today, which I am grateful I was able to attend. She passed on January 5th. You can read her obituary here. I am grateful for Florence Melia, and I was reminded today of her hospitality and caring nature when I was barely an adult, and I am inspired to follow her example today.

I am grateful for the Board Game Cafe, where we went for family fun night tonight (we try to do something all together on Friday nights, even if it’s just a rented movie). It was awesome. We ordered milkshakes, and played a game that was recommended to us by the staff. The grandparents came, too. It was a great, great night and I think we’ll be back there frequently

I am grateful for lots of work right now. I don’t always have lots of work, and sometimes it’s nice not to be busy, but right now, it’s about the right amount, and so much better than not enough work.

Gratitude – folks, Cooper’s teeth, to-do lists

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I am grateful for my folks, who again showed up early and made dinner for us on Beaver night, so where we usually have to rush like crazy on Thursdays, tonight we didn’t. I’ll miss them when they are gone, and not just because of the ham and potato salad.

I am grateful for a big milestone, Cooper lost his first tooth tonight. Within about 15 minutes he’d also lost his second. It’s a trip for this Papa. I can remember the milestone when those first two teeth came in. It was just a few years ago, but it feels like a lifetime. Now I can hold those little teeth in my hand, and consider there was once a time where All of Cooper was that size when Julie was pregnant. Now he’s this whole person. Parenthood is such a trip. If parenthood is not hard, I don’t know what is. And if parenthood is not nice, I don’t know what is.

I am grateful for the satisfaction of crossing stuff off to-do lists. I did a fair amount of that today. Never enough, but satisfying nonetheless.

Gratitude – spirit in the sky, safety first, done.

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I am grateful for the perfect mix of effects on the guitar in Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenblaun. It’s this got this growl and bark that matches the music it’s playing perfectly. It’s divine; pun fully intended.

I am grateful for Farley’s “safety first” mentality, piling up pillows, blankets and stuffies in the landing area before attempting a jump off the rocking chair.

I am grateful the day is over and kids are in bed. I am pooped!

Gratitude – Coop at the dentist, work, help from folks

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I am grateful for a successful trip to the dentist with Coop this morning, complete with an earlier start in the morning, and Farley on my lap for the whole appointment. There were no cavities, and it could have gone haywire, but it did not.

I am grateful for a lengthy uninterrupted time at my desk today. I’ve got a full hopper, but I am making my way through.

I am grateful to my folks, who were nice enough to come to my house, make it look nice, and left dinner ready in the fridge after they left. Who does that? Will I do that for my kids when they are parents? Maybe, maybe not. Doesn’t matter right now. With a renovation underway, two working parents and two young boys, and typically no folks in town, we’ll take whatever help we can get, and I’ll be grateful for it.

Gratitude – action packed sunday, reno progress, work groove.

I am grateful for an action packed Sunday. Grandparents had the kids for the morning and lunch, then we picked them up and went straight to a birthday party, and wrapped it all up with dinner at Pizza Prima Strada with the grandies in the evening. Prima Strada is the best pizza I think I’ve had anywere, period. The whole day was pretty swell, albeit exhausting, but man, that pizza was pretty cussing great.

I am grateful for more progress on the reno. Things are starting to get cleaner now. Most of the rubble piles in the front and back yard are gone. The space downstairs has been swept out, because most of the dusty stuff (aside from drywalling, but that’s later) is done. It’s nice to see these milestones occur.

I am grateful for a renewed sense of passion for my work lately. Biz has picked up, which is nice, and I’ve found myself a bit more excited about getting into the coding and business processes lately. This is good, I was in a bit of a clock-watching funk there for a while. It was more stress than boredom induced clock-watching, but either way, it feels similarly unpleasant. It’s a nice groove to be in right now, so I’m going to try to ride that wave as long as I can.

Good podcast – Snap Judgement: Reunion

I listen to a lot of podcasts. It’s just about my favourite medium. At once intimate, convenient and mind blowing, the best podcasts change my life in real ways, like the one that inspired my gratitude blog.

Today though, I just wanted to mention one podcast I enjoyed last week. As time goes on, I’ll try to post more links when I hear the real cherries.

Snap Judgement from NPR is almost always a great listen, but I thought the reunion episode was especially good. A pastor is reunited in jail with his estranged father. A record collection is reunited with the best possible person it could be, and a woman sends a stripper to act as herself at her high school reunion. All entertaining stuff. Not mind blowing, but good. Check it!

Gratitude – Thetis lake, tantrum recovery, Farley’s Groot

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I am grateful for a nice rainy hike at Thetis lake today.

I am grateful that Coop recovered nicely from a five alarm, full volume, no-drill, 15 minute tantrum. Holy cuss, he was dishing it out, but after a while he calmed down and we were able to enjoy a nice walk.

I am grateful for Farley’s Groot impersonation.

Gratitude – movie night, burritos, Cooper’s school.

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I am grateful for movie night. We had a screening of Guardians of the Galaxy tonight, with grandparents in attendance. In hindsight, our selection may not have been age appropriate for the kids, but everyone loved it. Popcorn was popped, laundry was folded and a good time was had by all.

I am grateful for inspiration from my brother in law, who has had the same lunch every day for 15 years, an Amy’s brand frozen burrito. I tried one today. It was good, but tonight I made homemade burritos for dinner and a bunch of extra so I could make and freeze some for lunch. I now have two weeks of lunch in my freezer. Huzzah!

I am grateful that Coop is in a great space right now. We had a parent teacher conference today. His teacher is great. His friends are great. His school is great. If that’s not nice, I don’t know what is.