Gratitude – 2014 and inspiration

I am grateful for 2014. There are a lot of things about 2014 I will take with me, and will cherish as long as I can. A great trip to California with family. Coop’s first experiences at school. Our first whole summer in our new house. Farley’s last moments of babyhood (although both will always be my babies, just a little bit). There are other parts of 2014 I am grateful I can move past and leave behind; I like to cherry pick my memories. That’s a big part of what this blog is about.

I am grateful for inspiration. I rarely anticipate from whence it will come. My kids had a playdate today with a family we’re just getting to know. When they were pregnant the dad realized the job he’d had for the previous 13 years involved lots of travel, and that wasn’t going to allow him be at home as much as he’d like. So, he went from being a hobby chocolatier to being a full-time pro. His chocolate is amazing, his passion for what he does is too. His leap of faith is what really gets me, though. He pretty much just said “Cuss it! I’m going to make chocolate now” (I am paraphrasing). He googled up what he needed to know to start, and then and learned the rest by trial and error. He was proudly showing me machines today that he designed and built for processing cocoa beans. He didn’t find or buy plans, he just built the dang thing. And his chocolate is AMAZING. I don’t have leap of faith I’d really like to make right now, but hearing and seeing this story first hand makes me realize one can just make stuff like that happen, and starts me down a road where I see more possibilities. If that’s not nice, what is?

I am grateful for some good news that came my way today about someone I care deeply about. It’s not public information just now, and I don’t want to reveal any more than that on the interwebs. I’m sorry, dear reader, to be all cryptic like that. Here’s the thing: I’m very grateful for this news, and as weird as this paragraph might read, it would feel weirder to me if I didn’t mention it at all on this, my blog about being grateful.

Grateful – Time, photos, and sandwiches.

I’m grateful I can take as much time as I’ve taken for this Christmas holiday. I’m grateful Julie could, too. It’s been really, really great to have this much unstructured time for us all to just hang out together, without really having to go anywhere or do anything.

I am grateful for photos. I’ve spent some time this last few days sifting through the last 2 years worth. I know I’ll enjoy having them for years and decades to come.

I am grateful for the sandwich Julie made me for lunch. It was turkey, tomato, homemade sauerkraut, mustard and mayo on homemade bread. The best pleasures in life are the simplest.that sandwich was one of those.

I am grateful for “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars. It caused the minivan to rock from side to side at red lights during several mid-drive carseat dance parties.

I am grateful for some material acquisition, as much as I tried to not get involved in boxing week sales. We’ve got a new bluetooth mega bass radio sound system in our kitchen. The biggest feature is CBC reception that is (thus far) unaffected by the physical position of nearby humans. Not so with the last radio. I’d put off putting certain cups away in certain cupboard places for fear I’d miss the news. No longer!

I am grateful for another great winter vacation day, this time accomplishing all the following:

  • Several extended periods of doing nothing at all.
  • Making and consuming eggs benedict.
  • Various errands in and out of the house.
  • Enjoying Kid-Fest at the BC Aviation Museum.
  • Indian food dinner out.
  • More Jedi Scout Fighter Lego construction.

If that’s not nice, what is?





PS: That Bruno Mars song totally reminded me of Parliament Funkadelic, which I haven’t listened to in far too long, and which you should listen to RIGHT NOW. I am grateful for them, too:

Gratitude – lego building

I am grateful for Coop’s Jedi Scout Fighter Lego set that Santa brought. We’ve been building it over the last few days. My job has been to offer moral support and to help find the pieces for the next step. It’s fun. Someday, I’ll miss it, but today, I can just enjoy it.

I am grateful for the folks at Harbord Insurance at Fairfield Plaza, who sent out a letter that coincided with my reminder letter from ICBC that said if I sent them a scanned copy of my ICBC reminder, I could cruise on in, skip any line, sign a few papers, pay with my credit card and be on my way. With a 2 and a 6 year old in tow, that’s a great service, and it was the quickest auto insurance renewal I’ve ever experienced.

I am grateful that Farley managed a nap today; not an easy feat considering we were out all day doing errands.

Gratitude – hill climbing and geocaching


I am grateful for a nice morning and afternoon, with my kids, and two of their pals, including a successful hill climbing and geocaching expedition.

I am grateful for turkey pot pies, one in my belly and another in my freezer.

I am grateful for a moment when the floor was tidy and vacuumed this morning, then another when the kitchen was clean in the early afternoon. It might have been nice if the two moments coincided, or if they lasted longer than 45 minutes or so, but I’ll take what I can get.

Gratitude – Ignorance is bliss.

I am grateful that for several days, over which I have experienced periods of time counted in hours, where I have neither known nor cared where my iPhone was.

I am grateful for Farley, who will actually ask to be tickled. Then, after you tickle him more than you’d think anyone would want to be tickled, will look up at you and say “more tickle!”

I am grateful for a lazy day with successful naps for 75% of our family (including myself), followed by a night of shooting off LED nerf air rockets (from Auntie Gina and Uncle Paul – thanks guys!) at the park and visiting yet another over the top Christmas light display, complete with vintage firetruck.

I am grateful Julie had the idea to go caroling. We have a few awesome neighbors. They are friendly, and some are just crazy for our kids. We went to three houses, the four of us, and with jingle bells, guitars, and a ukulele we performed Jingle bells. We were invited in. We were offered homemade treats. We were told we “changed the day entirely”. It was really, really good. We see these people all the time. Everyone is friendly with eachother around here, but it felt great, especially on Christmas, to enjoy the warm welcome of our neighbours as they listened and sang with us on their doorsteps.

I am grateful for a stupendous deal at the supermarket. We bought a 20lb Turkey for $20. We weren’t having anyone over for dinner. That’s an insane amount of food for 2 adults and 2 kids. We may have eaten most of a quarter of that bird tonight, but no more than that. There is a LOT leftover, and that was my intention. Stock is cooking on the stove right now – I intend to eat nothing but turkey for as long as possible – days, or perhaps even weeks.

I am grateful for conversations with family all over the place, and for the technology that makes it all possible. I’m old enough to remember when long distance was $.27/minute, and that was after 11pm. I don’t know what it was before 11, because I couldn’t afford it. It’s much easier to have long conversations on the phone now, and I can’t believe this, but it’s true: videoconferencing is now hum-drum. Facetime was first introduced in 2010. I think for the first 3 years of it, at least 33% of every Facetime conversation was about how amazing Facetime was. No longer, now it’s just another way to receive or initiate a phone call. We are living in the future.

Gratitide – Christmas Eve


I am grateful for a fantastic family hike today. We hiked to the top of Bear Hill, which was just the right mix of hard enough and easy enough for everyone in the family. Farley made it up and down with no uppies, stroller, or backpack required. The weather was warm and clear, and there was a great view at the top.

I am grateful its Christmas Eve. It’s an exciting time; this was the pinnacle (and still is) of the Lathrop family holiday calendar back in Calgary. I miss being part of that. Similarly, I am missing Julie’s side of the family, there’s a whole crowd of really great people I’m used to spending Christmas with there, too. I’m sad to miss connecting with extended family this time of year, but at the same time I’m also grateful for what’s shaping up to be a low-key, cozy, fun, airport and ferry free Christmas at home.

I am grateful that the stockings are hung by the chimney with care. Presents are under the tree. Visions of sugarplums are dancing in the heads of sleeping children. And so, I wish a happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Gratitude – learning stuff

I am grateful for an awesome daycare
Christmas Concert potluck. Little kids singing. It just can’t be beat.

I am grateful for a day I chose to spend learning new stuff at work today. One great thing about my job is that the technologies involved are always changing. It can be panic inducing when I don’t feel like I am keeping up with the state of the art, but the solution is to take an hour, or a day, or two, and just read and play with new techniques. When I do that, I remember what I love about programming. I start out learning a new skill feeling like a kid with a new lego set. Once I’ve learned it well, I feel like I can accomplish anything. Today I scratched the surface of the Angular JS framework. It’s nifty!

I am grateful for the bread I made last night. It was for the potluck. Guess what a new civilization of microbes is doing in my kitchen RIGHT NOW. More bread for us tomorrow!

Gratitude – fermentation

I am grateful for fermentation. I recently made sauerkraut. It was delicious. I’ve also made yoghurt. It’s good and much cheaper than the normal kind. I enjoy drinking wine. Bread dough is rising overnight as I write this. Microbes die by the millions, drowning in their own tasty excretions, all for my own gastronomic enjoyment. I like to think I set the stage for them to lead happy microscopic lives. And if they know anything at all, I hope they know that their lives are indeed serving a higher purpose.

I am grateful for a full day at the office. It’s been a bit hectic, and it’s been longer than I’d have liked since the last time I did that.

I am grateful for the upcoming winter break. I intend to have lots and lots of fun and downtime with my family. If that’s not nice, what is?