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 – 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 day 101

I am grateful for the crablike technique Farley uses to eat roasted seaweed. Poor kid had hands that looked like a crab’s today too. It was a chilly bike ride home, and his mittens were wet so he didn’t want to wear them.

I am grateful for fish sticks. I haven’t eaten them often as an adult, but now I have kids, and so I’ve recently had fish sticks again for the first time in a long time. I can’t advocate eating them on a daily basis for health reasons, but once in a while I can attest that they are tasty and quick to make.

I’m grateful for an opportunity to fight crime. I don’t want to post more about that online just now, but feel free to ask next time you see me. It’s a pretty good (albeit a tad boastful) story.

Gratitude day 100

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I am grateful for Coop, who completed his investiture at Beavers tonight, reciting the beaver motto, promise and law from memory in a lovely ceremony the leaders put together. In the photo he’s checking out all the badges. Some go on the uniform, some go on the campfire blanket.

I am grateful that Farley appears to have figured out how to go to bed without screaming and crying. The secret appears to have been having his brother tell him he just wants to sleep, but the noise keeps him up. Coop asked “Can you please go to sleep quietly in your bed, Farley?”

“Okay.” Farley replied. Then he did, 3 nights in a row, so far. I thought we’d tried everything; perhaps I forgot to ask nicely.

I am grateful for this blog. Taking time to be grateful on a daily, regular basis has been life changing for the better, albeit in a small and subtle way. When I started I didn’t know how long I’d keep it up. I didn’t think I’d make it this far, but it turns out I have, and now I am grateful for my own dang gratitude. A little narcissistic to write about that publicly here, but I’m gonna anyway, because it’s my blog, and because it’s true.

Gratitude day 93

I am grateful for small victories. I heard myself say “We did it!”‘to Farley (who was riding on the back of my bike) under my breath at the crest of a small hill. I realized in that moment that saying that at the top of hills is a habit for me. This blog is useful to marking those moments; I am looking for things to be grateful for now. If it wasn’t for the blog, that little victory would slip into the oblivion of forgotten things.

I am grateful for my kids. Coop, who gets as much joy and satisfaction out of putting lego together as anyone gets from anything, and Farley, who likes to sing about great white sharks, and today extended that to start singing about great white crabs.

I am grateful for my desk lamp I bought yesterday, which I bought at a thrift store. Fact is, I probably could have bought something new for the same price, but this one didn’t introduce any more plastic packaging to a landfill, and didn’t cost any more carbon emissions to ship from China. I prefer used things generally. I dislike waste, like anyone else does, but I also respect and enjoy the stories objects can tell, and something new out of the box just doesn’t have much to say about itself.