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Archive for the ‘Thankful’ Category

This is its 7th year. People are still searching for it! That makes me smile. Enjoy!

turkey farm

Across the hall from my office is what I believed to be a daycare center. Turns out, it is some sort of work-release program for 3- and4-year-olds, from which they operate a turkey farm. As you can imagine, it’s been a busy place this week. I’ve dealt with a turkey or two in my day, so I thought I’d take a moment to offer some last-minute turkey selection guidance, with a little help from my turkey-raising friends across the hall.

Do look for:

good bird

A plump, confident bird that will look you right in the eye. All parts should be . . . “in the ballpark,” so to speak.

AVOID:

visually challenged turkey

A bird that appears intoxicated, or just effin’ goofy. You don’t want that.

inverted bird

The upside-down turkey, with crossed legs and shifty eyes. May also exhibit a paranoid demeanor. This bird will NOT digest easily.

ingrown turkey

Watch for the inbred turkey. Its feathers and legs tend to grow inward. Also be leery of turkeys with excessive glue or other miscellaneous white liquids dripping from their beaks. You just don’t know where a turkey like this has been.

afflicted turkey

This is the “WTF” turkey. Any bird that elicits, as your first response, a startled “WTF?!” is to be avoided. Just say no.

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WD2009flamingos
Airplane there, smooooth….bus ride from airport to resort was hi-larious . . . driver had some flavor of an accent I could not identify . . . she stood at the front of the bus and called out, “OK, how many ol’ jews ah going to thee Shree-bear-sigh?” . . . crickets . . . “SHREE-BEAR-SIGH! SHREE-BEAR-SIGH!” . . . could she be saying, “Riverside?” . . . slowly, tentatively, the Riverside-bound among us put up our hands, glancing around . . . then she called out “And how many ol’ jews ah going to thee Bitch Club?!” … that one was a little easier, the Beach Club-bound raised their hands, giggling . . . and later when she pulled in to the parking lots, she too-enthusiastically shouted out a welcome: “HWELCON TO THEE BITCH CLUB!” heehee, so everytime someone behaved irritably the rest of the week, I thought “HWELCON TO THEE BITCH CLUB!” . . .room not as expected; more motel than hotel, but we’ll deal…weather nice, 60s-70s, not sun-bathing weather but great for walking around parks … omg, I could LIVE on SOARIN’ ride . . . FastPass is the way to go, and with a BIRTHDAY FastPass, there was NO WAIT AT ALL in any line on LG’s actual b’day . . . WTF was not much of a factor at all, the first 4 days . . . the last 3 were a struggle, pain, tears, etc. . . very thankful for 4 good days — even better than I’d hoped . . . meal plan totally confused me; at one point (Wednesday), I thought we couldn’t eat again until Saturday . . . but we could, and did . . . loved Artist Point, Hollywood Brown Derby, Coral Reef and Sci-Fi Theatre restaurants . . . restaurants where I’d made reservations and mentioned LG’s b’day gave her cards signed by staff or even printed birthday wishes on a special menu for us! . . . Magic Kingdom my least favorite park (I know, it’s unAmerican to say that), and the other three are all my favorite . . . parades were great, and I don’t like parades . . . discovered I like to be stirred, not shaken, on rides . . . liked Space Mountain better 30 years ago . . . I was the only one to get wet on the Kali River Rapids ride, and I loved it . . . no, I did not do Expedition Everest (didn’t want to), but Jif and LG did . . . didn’t do Tower of Terror (they did, I wanted to, but WTF wouldn’t permit that day) . . . we got to ride almost everything we wanted to, and never waited more than 25 minutes . . . if this is the “slow” time of year there, I NEVER want to go at the busy time; it was plenty crowded for me . . . LG met Prince Caspian who thought we were the Royal Family of Baltimore (possibly because I told him we were) . . . she was mortified/horrified . . . her BFF’s family coincidentally was also on vacay there at the end of the week, so they met up a couple of times . . . the Lion King show was fantastic . . . got Jif singing “Hakuna Matata” all the time, which annoyed and embarrassed LG no end . . . among my favorite parts of the trip — and truly, my favorite parts of any ordinary day — were the meaningful interactions with strangers: like the lady from Texas, via New Orleans, who explained to me about the whole Disney Pin trading phenomenon, and then asked, “Hey, do you know anyone named Laura?” and as a matter of fact, I know a very dear young lady named Laura, so the kind stranger gave me a Disney pin with “Laura” on it to give to her; she had seen it in a thrift store and bought it in the hope that she’d meet someone with a Laura; and the very large man on the even larger mechanized scooter, who couldn’t fit into the store aisle where the OTC meds were, and politely asked me if I could find him some motion sickness pills . . . at first I said they had none, but then I found them! and he was very thankful and so was I . . . great 13th b’day trip . . . plane home among the bumpiest ever for both Jif and me, but we’re here . . . I did seem to bring back the Mouse Flu — hit me the next day, still with chills, fever, aches, etc. . . and I am SO thankful to have it after I got home and not while we were there . . . all good.

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I’ve Been Thanking #4

This is February’s Thanksliving page:

Friday, February 1. Water. Rained like crazy today, very hard for a very long time. Rain has never been depressing to me, the way it is to some. I find it refreshing, renewing. Having visited another website where someone was being thankful (I went to put the link, but the post had disappeared), I am reminded to be thankful for indoor plumbing. And three (my bowl runneth over) working toilets. Some work better than others, but still.

Saturday, February 2. Coffee was ready when I came downstairs today. I don’t drink it every day, but I do like it on weekends. Coffee being ready first thing in the morning for me is a rare occurrence. Usually, I am an early riser and Jif could sleep all Saturday if LG didn’t bug him up. But today, while I showered, he made coffee. That’s nice.

Sunday, February 3. Pineapple, in all forms. Silicone bakeware.

Monday, February 4. Thankful for kind people who work in docs’ offices. It has amazed me, over the past couple of years, how few of them there are. They are often gatekeepers, Cerberuses, guards, rather than welcomers. But wait, I’m being thankful. Mindy, she’s a good one. Gentle voice, willing to be as helpful as she possibly can. Which is way more helpful than her employer ever was. Oops. Trying to stay thankful. Mindy.

Tuesday, February 5. Thankful for choice. Not in its current political connotation, but just generally, thankful for free will. Terrible freedom, it’s been called. The ability to either choose the right thing or the wrong thing; the best thing or the good enough thing. Many, many choices I can make every day, with short- and long-term consequences.

Wednesday, February 6. Thankful that I’m such a tremendously cool mom. Well, this morning I am. My precious only child has left for school wearing flip-flops. (In February. In Baltimore(ish). OMG!!! WHAT WAS I THINKING??!!!) We will all survive. I continue to hone this motherhood thing. I say “no” a lot. Often, when all other parents are saying “yes.” I realize that sometimes, on the minor things, it’s important to say “yes,” when no one will get hurt, and no one’s values will be compromised. Even when it makes no damned sense to me. I did yell out to the sidewalk, “Are your piggies cold?!” I mean, I can’t be totally cool. I must maintain a certain level of embarrassingness.

Thursday, February 7. Met with three of LG’s teachers, and that went very well. They all like her, and they seem to be really good teachers. One remarkable thing came of it. While her science teacher was showing us her grades, he said, “Wait a minute . . . she got a B on her report card, right?” Yes, she did. “Wait a minute …” and he recalculated her grade, just because it didn’t look quite right to him. He turned the calculator around to Jif, and it showed 89.9999999999. He said, “What do you think I should do?” And Jif said, “I think you gotta round UP.” Which gave her an “A” after all. We all had a good laugh about it, with me joking that now that we’d gotten him to change her grade, our work there was done . . . but I did feel the need to repeatedly assure him that wasn’t the purpose of our visit. He said he knew that . . . after all, he was the one who happened to notice that her grades didn’t look like a “B.” Then he told us stories about crazy parents who have accosted him over grades, even in elementary school. We really aren’t like that. We want her to be a good student, but mostly we want her to love learning. I think he believed us. LG was very thrilled, because one more “A” qualifies her for a fancy certificate to put up on the fridge. None of us had any idea that we’d return home with another “A.” Again, sometimes it’s the little unexpected things.

Friday, February 8. Thankful for the internet, and the way in which it offers the means to share things like this video, that made me listen, and this one, that made me laugh. I received both in emails and saw them on blogs, and now I’ve passed them both on in both of those ways.

Saturday, February 9. Jif gave Biscuit a much-needed bath. Biscuit gives thanks, too. (He is so thankful, that Jif was moved to say, “Oh, no! Now he thinks I’m his friend!”)

And The Fever won!

Sunday, February 10. Was thankful that the electricity came back on.

Monday, February 11. The laugh supplied so generously by the (approximately) 7-year-old boy in the Hallmark store, who somehow managed to knock down an entire several-yards-long, six-feet-high Crocs display, amidst banging, clanging, thudding, people ducking for cover, and just general mayhem and madness. When the last Croc had hit the ground, and before his mother could unleash on him, he reassured onlookers, cool as a cucumber, “I meant to do that.”

Tuesday, February 12. An ice storm meant that the agency closed early. I needed that. My intentions were good, trying to work after my doc’s appointment, but really, I was too wiped out. So God iced us. Nice.

Wednesday, February 13. I thought I had an appointment with my therapist, but it wasn’t in my book. So while I was looking up her number, she called me to see if I was still planning to come in, with the ice and all. I was, except that I didn’t know when. In half an hour! So, that all worked out just right.

Thursday, February 14. There’s a client of one of my students, a little girl who has no one. Except this distant relative of the father’s, who has chosen to love this little girl and look out for her when no one else will. Thankful there are people like that, and this child has one of them.

Friday, February 15. Thankful for both Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner, and entirely unable to decide to which Queen I would pledge my allegiance. Also thankful for queens who see the importance and the absurdity of being queen, like The Sweet Potato Queens, who advocate that everyone should claim to be the Queen of Whatever She (or He) Chooses. Now must decide what I am the queen of. I’ll just lounge in my Aretha-sized bed while I ponder . . .

Saturday, February 16, the Fever won again! And LG scored. I wasn’t able to go to the game, but my generous family told me all about it. LG’s team won by one point. They’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season.

Sunday, February 17 through Monday, February 18, SO thankful I was able to persevere through WTF, to co-host LG’s birthday party. I might post a little bit about it in a day or so. The short version is, I planned a party that required me to do no cooking, no decorating, little more than just hanging around, and I hung. I hung around, I hung in, I hung over, I was well hung. You woulda thought I was William Hung. OK, that might be a bit much. But the girls had a great time, and the guest of honor pronounced the party AWESOME.

Tuesday, February 19. This was a day when WTF was relatively quiet. My arms had trouble, but everything else was better than it has been for a long, long time. It was also a day when I came to some decisions about how to proceed, diagnosis and treatment-wise. I’ll soon write more about this in other places, but I came to realize I cannot count on medical professionals. Short version, I discovered some information that had been recorded in my “official” record that was absolutely inaccurate, at best. This from one of the few docs I thought had a clue. From now on, I’m going to increasingly view WTF not as an illness so much as a . . . state of being. And I will do all I can to alter it. Mentally, physically, spiritually, environmentally, relationally. In the meantime, if it IS an “illness,” I will either recover or become worse (perhaps making me more diagnosable/treatable), or I will stay pretty much the same, in which case the focused pursuit of mental/spiritual/physical/environmental/relational health can only do me good. I am thankful to have gotten a little bit of clarity, a little bit of light on the path ahead, even though it came via a very distressing revelation.

Wednesday, February 20. Tonight, LG and I completed her Nefertiti “hat,” to be worn in a Grrl Scawt program in which she will portray the Egyptian queen. Thanks to blogging, we had access to the creative guidance and encouragement of a famous costume designer to the stars. We were pleased with the finished product. And I, for perhaps the first time, was very thankful (and I told her so) that my child is not a perfectionist like her mama. There are some asymmetries and wrinkles and whatnot, which irk me no end, but about which LG said in all sincerity, “That’s no big deal! It’s great! I love it!” If we were both perfectionists, we’d both be miserable. As it was, I was miserable for a millisecond, but how ridiculous would it be for me to remain that way when my kid was perfectly delighted with our finished product? And I try not to be ridiculous — in a bad way.

nefertiti hat

Thursday, February 21. A surprise visit from LG’s godfather, who shares her birthday, tomorrow. He was in town for sad reasons (his mom’s health), but we were delighted to get to take him out for a birthday dinner. He and LG took cell phone pictures of each other and sent them to his daughter’s (Jif’s goddaughter’s) cell phone, then she called us at the restaurant . . . it was all very pleasant, and I hope, a distraction from his family’s current crisis. I know it was a distraction from my various crises.

Friday, February 22. My girl’s birthday. It was a snow day, so we got to hang out at home. She loved all her birthday gifts. Maybe a little too much, but I’ll post about that another time. We watched one of Jif’s and my favorite family-friendly movies, from way back in the day, which we introduced to LG over the summer (having forgotten some of the language in it), and she loves it, too.

Saturday, February 23. Thankful again that we had LG’s party last weekend, and did not schedule a family get-together until next weekend. Turns out she had a fever all day, and ended up sleeping about 15 hours. Our timing was good; cancelling kid parties is such a disappointment.

Sunday, February 24. LG is doing much better. I put on nail polish for the first time in memory (over a year?). That means I felt well enough to bother with it, and my hands worked.

Monday, February 25. Jif is sick today. Flu. I’m very thankful for what an oddity this is. I can count on one hand the times he’s missed work due to illness, in our 25 years of marriage. And I was able to do a lot of what needed doing, things that he does most of the time these days. So, we got through the day. By evening, he was feeling a bit better, with a bit lower fever.

Tuesday, February 26. Found myself feeling very thankful for the new crop of interns that we’ve accepted into the agency for next year. So far, so good.

Wednesday, February 27. I’m thankful for my acupuncturist, and her ability to tolerate the not-knowingness of my illness/disorder/state of being. Jif was back at work today, with a meeting afterward, so LG and I had dinner alone together. We talked a lot, and I so treasure those times of being able to know her better. She talked about middle school, which I think is a plague upon humanity, for the most part. She told me about who is popular and who is not. She says that she is not popular, but the popular kids like her well enough. She says that she and most of her little group of friends are somewhere between popular and dork. I think that’s a good place to be. I’m thankful for that.

Thursday, February 28. Jif’s flu came back strong. Thankful that my work is very flexible now, and I can decide to leave when my family needs me, without stressing about it.

Friday, February 29. I had a doc’s appointment (non-WTF-related) this afternoon. After I showered, I put on the jeans I wore yesterday. Thankful to have discovered yesterday’s panties when they fell out the leg of the jeans before I walked out the front door, rather than in public. That’s always good.

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This is an amplified Thanksliving post. If you’ve been around a while, you know that in another life, I’d like to be a kids’ party planner. LG’s parties, while not huge, are known for being the funnest. We’ve done the Mall Scavenger Hunt, The Mystery, and the wild sleepover. Before I started blogging, my favorite was the Pink Pony Pretend Pajama Party. I like everything about kids’ parties — the planning, the shopping, the decorating, the execution (that almost happened for real at the sleepover), even the, well, not so much the clean-up. But everything else.

This year, with WTF, I was very concerned that LG’s partying days as we knew them were over. In middle school, parties do seem to be getting smaller, so that gave me a break. But I couldn’t imagine how I’d do even a small get-together. Google to the rescue! I searched “12-year-old birthday party,” and found that someone had taken her daughter and friends to a hotel with an indoor pool. Instant party! I found a hotel with a pool and hot tub, just 15 minutes away. It so happened that said hotel was directly across from Medieval Times. And that is how I got my ducks in a row

ducks in a row

and Jif and I accompanied LG and three friends to Medieval Times for what passed for dinner and a show, then to the hotel, where swimming, tubbing, gaming and a movie-on-demand were the prerequisites to the real party, which involved Truth or Dare and giggling until 3 a.m. Next morning, continental breakfast (including make- your-own waffles) was provided. The party was pronounced AWESOME. And all I had to do was make a couple of phone calls and hang out. And take a few pictures.

the traditional cake shot

Oh, and in case you’re considering trying this at home (I mean, at a hotel near your home), I have two words for you: ADJOINING ROOMS. This is what made it possible, for me. I’m extraordinarily safety-conscious and arguably overprotective. I wouldn’t have had 11- and 12-year-olds in a room that we couldn’t get to immediately if needed. Their room connected with mine and Jif’s, so there was privacy for both groups, yet we could wander back and forth, too.

Indeed, Jif and I figured prominently in Truth or Dare, because the dares often consisted of doing something “in front of LG’s parents!” While we watched TV, tween girls would parade into our room on a dare, singing “I’m a Little Teapot,” or dancing to Soulja Boy. Speaking of which, I dare you to go learn the dance, video yourself and post it. You would if you loved me.

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Sunday Post

viewfromthetoilet

“You don’t give thanks when you feel like it! You give thanks when you don’t feel like it, then ‘fore long, you’ll be feelin’ like it!” — Charles Stanley

Psalm 118:24

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I’ve Been Thanking #3

This is my January Thanksliving page:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008. After a rocky start, I was able to go with Jif and LG to meet my brother and his family for lunch, halfway between our home and his home in Delaware. While we waited for a table, I learned some new things about my SIL, whom I love and admire very much. I laughed, quite a lot. It is hard to attend to the symptoms of WTF while laughing. Always thankful for laughter.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008. I am thankful for Jif, my newly 50-year-old husband. The past year has been tough on him. I am thankful for his health and for his ability to keep on doing what needs to be done. He is strong. This is more noticeable, and more important, than it has ever been in our lives, I think.

Thursday, January 3, 2008. This was a day in which I clung to the thought, “Thank God it’s better than yesterday.” WTF-wise, I mean. Yesterday was very frightening. And part of that fear is, “What if this is it, what if there’s not another good day (that is, a day when I can walk, talk, use my arms relatively well)?” But there was. Today. A much, much better day. Plus, we took LG out to Cheeburger Cheeburger, and I was able to coerce her into giving me her little cardboard car that her dinner came in. A 1955 purple and green Ford Fairlane. Sweet!

Friday, January 4. I am thankful for friends who try to help. The one who gave me a brain-training, and a book and CD about “Open Focus.” And the one who had lunch with me and told me she loves me. And is always there for me. I find that people sincerely wanting and trying to help (with WTF Disease) truly IS helpful. Symptom-relieving. Or at least, providing a distraction from symptoms, providing another sensation in my body, or perhaps more accurately, in my soul. There is something more, much more, than pain, weakness, dis-ease. Something stronger than those things. It is a medicine that presents in the form of kindness, love, hope, faith, laughter.

Saturday, January 5. LG was excited about scoring a basket in her game, and doing a magic trick at a birthday party with a talent show theme. I couldn’t go to the game or the party. But she was excited to tell me about both. I’m thankful that she likes to tell me about her life, especially the parts I can’t participate in now.

Sunday, January 6
. So thankful for a very clean powder room, courtesy of Jif. And for a bouquet of flowers from a friend.

Monday, January 7
. I am thankful for my job. This is a bit of a long story, but I’ll try to condense it here. In the summer of 2005, I agreed to a one-school-year stint as a clinical supervisor at a non-profit family counseling agency. I did it for mostly sentimental reasons. It was the agency where, back in the day, I did my first clinical internship. It is where I sat with clients for the first time, and had that precious moment of realizing, “Wow. This. THIS is the work I was meant to do.” I have always been grateful for that experience, and for the excellent supervision I got at the agency. When the internship ended, I went on to other things, eventually graduating, becoming licensed and beginning a private practice. When the director asked if I would come back for a short time to supervise the counselors-in-training, I thought it would be fun. I saw it as a mission, as in “missionary.” I saw it as a charitable act on my part. A way of “giving back.” The agency has next to no money. I did take the job, happily, excitedly, as an act of charity.

Then WTF hit. In the late summer of 2006, I had to close my private practice. The job that I had taken as a favor to the agency, became my primary income. And much more importantly than that, it became the reason I get showered and dressed and out of the house, a lot of days. I NEED someone to count on me to show up somewhere and do something. And the agency does. My students do. This may sound immodest, and it may be immodest, but it is something for which I’m extremely thankful: I’m damned good at what I do. I’m good at being a therapist, and I am good at supervising and helping train fledgling therapists. Doing my job is a way of getting some regular confirmation that, regardless of throat troubles, limb troubles, whatever, I provide something of value. I am so immeasurably thankful for that.

And I’m thankful for the other people at the agency. More times than I remember now, I have sat down with the boss and said something like, “You are not getting my best, my highest energy, my most creative ideas . . . I would completely understand if you want someone else in here.” And each time she has expressed her faith that I will get well, and that me at diminished capacity is better than many others at maximum capacity, and that she has no complaints. When I have been unable to work my agreed upon 16 hours a week, she has paid me for it anyway. Every time. She says that because my position is grant-funded, it’s less headache for her to just pay me than it is to do the paperwork to explain why certain grant funds weren’t used. And if they weren’t used, the grants might be cut in the future, etc. Being familiar with non-profits, I know there is truth in this explanation. But I also know that she, and my co-workers who take up the slack on my worst days, are kind and generous people.

So the job that I accepted as an act of charity has turned out to be a blessing to me, beyond anything I could have imagined, when I took it, as a healthy person.

Tuesday, January 8. Those people? At that job? They surprised me with some gluten-free (still haven’t told you that tasteless story) brownies, some raspberries and cherries, and a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

Wednesday, January 9. I am thankful that this woman, Lou Taylor, so eloquently expressed what I have been ranting about to anyone who would listen the past few days. She saved me from writing a scathing letter to Phil McGraw. Shame on him. But, yea, I thank her for letting me off the hook from writing to Dr. Phil.

And I’m thankful that the presidential election is exciting and energetic this year. And that my kid will experience that. When I was little, I SO got into the whole election thing. I remember watching both conventions and wanting to grow up to be a delegate (for either party, or both!), and wear a red, white and blue hat, and carry a sign, and have balloons drop on my head. Then for various reasons over the 11 years of my daughter’s life, there hasn’t been a lot to be enthusiastic about, where elections are concerned. This year is different. I think.
UPDATE: I just came across this on another blogger’s site: Glassbooth. I would encourage you to go take the quiz and see whether the person you’re saying you want to be president is REALLY the person you want to be president. Very interesting.

Thursday, January 10. Thankful for cute, happy socks that came in the mail 🙂

Friday, January 11. Thankful, as I always have been, for dogs. Even (especially?) “bad” ones. I saw one while I was out driving, a giant black poodlish thing on a leash, walking his person down the street. She wanted to take him up onto the sidewalk, but he was having none of it. He put on his front brakes and she stood up on the sidewalk trying to tug him up with her. Even with my arms painful and weak, and my tongue doing involuntary acrobatics as I drove, I found myself chuckling at the stubborn mutt.

Saturday, January 12. Having had the possibility raised of an illness that eventually renders one unable to use her hands, I am daily, constantly thankful for my hands. I say, “Thank You,” for everything they can do, and my heart breaks a little to think of all those who have hands that don’t do at all. I can scratch an itch. I can reposition myself in bed, or flip my pillow if I am uncomfy. I can tweeze a stray hair. All unassisted. The little things that would be such a devastating loss. I’m thankful for every day, every incidence of not having lost those things. I would like to go back to being oblivious about such things, taking them for granted. But, even if I am healed tomorrow or within the next moment, I don’t think I will ever go back to that oblivion. And maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Sunday, January 13
. Thankful that the puking didn’t last long. (Some days are like that.)

Monday, January 14. My daughter asked me if I wanted to read her favorite poem. Of course, I did. It was Langston Hughes’ “Mother to Son”:

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor —
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

***
WOW.

Tuesday, January 15. My mother has had a health crisis this week. She is now in the hospital. It is not as bad as was originally reported. Not at all. Thankfully.

Wednesday, January 16. One of my favorite people I’ve never met left me a phone message today. And I’m almost glad (almost) I didn’t get to speak to her, because now I have her lovely hug of a voicemail to keep for 30 days.

Plus, there is leftover homemade vegetable soup.

Thursday, January 17. Today was “awards day” in 6th grade. I had mixed feelings about this. LG is sniffly, and they just had a half day, so I would have let her stay home. But she wanted to be there in the hope of getting an award. I knew nothing about these awards — for what? by whom? etc. — and she couldn’t answer my questions. But it was a big deal to her. I prepped her to be gracious whether or not she won anything. And I secretly prayed that she would win SOMETHING. She did. She won a “Role Model” award for demonstrating “Respectfulness.” (Maybe we coulda done without the “fulness” and still had the same award, but I digress.) I am thrilled for her, and proud of her. Since this is a thankful page, I won’t tangent off into my concerns for those who did not receive an award. Today, my kid did, and she’s had a tough time in various arenas lately, so we’ll just celebrate and not be political today.

I drove home safely in very, very bad weather that came up rather suddenly.

And. Ohmygosh. I had written an appeal letter to the big blue insurance people, who had twice denied payment for a $7000 test I had for WTF. Our credit has been affected by this, while we jumped through the appeal hoops. Well guess what?! The denial has been denied, and approval has been approved, and the blue boys will pay the bill. Phew. That many extra dollars when income is less and expenses are more . . . this is a very good thing.

Friday, January 18. One really good reason to have kids is that one day, they grow old enough to make you the chocolate chip cookies. Thanks to LG. Also thankful for one large custom-made glass of real lemonade, courtesy of Jif.

And after reading a few blogs, very thankful I don’t have to deal with dating.

My mother is out of the hospital, after suffering a mild heart attack early this week. We talked on the phone for a long time, and she sounded as good as I could hope. And my brother and his wife are on their way to NC to stay with her for a little while. “Granny” had sent LG a gift of pajamas, just before she was hospitalized, for which LG still had the box. While we were on the phone, Granny asked if LG liked the necklace. We hadn’t realized there was also a necklace in the package, so it was saved before LG threw the box, tissue paper, etc., out.

Saturday, January 19. For the first time this year, I made it to LG’s basketball game. (It wasn’t pretty, but I was still happy to be there.) I was very tickled by the dad behind me. Remember, this is a church league, where cheering for both teams is recommended, and the emphasis is on sportsmanship and respect for authority. The Dad behind me was making up lame cheers that cracked me up. There were maybe half a dozen of them, ranging from, “Don’t just chuck it; put it in the bucket!” to “Get off the pot! Take another shot!” His wife silenced him after that one. Embarrassing partners are very entertaining (unless they’re yours).

Sunday, January 20. In the afternoon, we went to a small gathering at my friend’s house, in honor of her cousin’s birthday. I didn’t feel like going. I didn’t want to go. But I wanted to support her entertaining efforts, and I wanted to help get Jif and LG socializing more. (WTF has isolated us all.) When we got there, we discovered it was a birthday thing for all the January babies — Jif, me, her cousin — and it was lovely. And tasty. And moving. And funny. I’m very glad I pushed myself to go. And thankful for friends, old and new.

Monday, January 21. Talking with LG about Dr. King, and how things were in the 60s when I was a little kid. I remember. She asked me if there’s still racism, and I told her that there is. She said, “But things are definitely a lot better than they were then. . . ” and I could honestly say, “Yes, they are.”

Tuesday, January 22. I sleep between a good man and a bad dog. I am thankful it’s not the other way around.

Wednesday, January 23. Oops, I’ve been forgetting to post here. OK, on Wednesday, I felt thankful for stretching. When I wake up in the morning, I stretch. Because I can. I know now (I never considered this before) that some can’t. But I can. I’m thankful.

Thursday, January 24. My head was spinning from something one of my students thought that my boss said, in direct opposition to some direction that I had given the student. It made no sense, and I was all ready for an unpleasant confrontation with the boss, because I couldn’t see compromising on my position about how to treat this particular client. Turned out, the student misunderstood. The boss and I were, as she said, “singing from the same hymn book.” All stressed for nothing. Thankful it was nothing. If it were something, it would have been a big something.

Friday, January 25. I learned today that a friend, who was not a friend (had not yet met), was in the Pentagon on 9/11. Very thankful to have had the opportunity to meet him, when . . . I almost didn’t. Also thankful for the delight that I feel when around precocious toddlers. Today, a three-year-old daughter of a friend was holding an ice cube, gazing upon the mystery of its melting, and she said, “My hand . . . my hand is like the sun.” Because its warmth was melting the ice cube! How brilliant is THAT?! It’s the little things.

Saturday, January 26. The song stuck in my head is “Anyone Else But You,” from the Juno soundtrack. It’s not a bad song to have stuck. Quite charming, really.

Sunday, January 27. A nice, husband-made Irish coffee. One open nostril.

Monday, January 28. I got us signed up online for conferences with 3 of LG’s 8 teachers. This is thanks/rant. I’m happy to get to meet with them. Last quarter, we didn’t get to meet with any, because they sent home the instructions on how to go online and schedule an appointment, and they gave a range of dates when one could do that. I didn’t wait until the last minute, but I also didn’t race to the website. So I learned. You have to race to the website. I got shut out. The teachers don’t schedule enough time slots to meet with all the parents, and it’s first come, first served. It took me a while to get over that — that you could get shut out from meeting with your child’s teacher — like they’re Hannah Montana or something — but anyhow, I got over it, and got with the program, and we will be able to meet with our three (there’s a limit of three per customer, even though, again, she has eight teachers) first choices, for 15 minutes each, during the first week of February. So, yea, my point was, school conferences ain’t what they used to be. No, wait, that wasn’t my point. Point is, we will see the teachers we want to see.

Tuesday, January 29. I received an email from someone who had a dream that WTF was gone. That made me feel so happy. The idea that out there in the universe, there is an unconscious understanding that it will be gone. And that she would be kind enough to take time to tell me that. 🙂

Wednesday, January 30. I am slowly savoring Eat, Pray, Love, which I think every other woman in the country has already read. Some of the observations in there hit me so strongly, I need to take a break to let them marinate for a few days. I love it when writers do that. I love good writing. Or writing that suits me well.

Thursday, January 31. Today, Jif donated at least 3 hours of his day to hang new shades at the agency. That is so generous and good of him. He had stuff to do at work. The agency is poor and everyone who works there is over-worked, and fresh, new shades that don’t fall on our heads when we raise or lower them — priceless.

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I’ve Been Thanking #2

This is my December Thanksliving page.

Saturday, December 1. Thankful for Jif and LG to hang out with. We had things to do that didn’t get done, but that’s OK. We needed to just hang out. We went to get my hair cut, then a little shopping, then a little more, then home for dinner, then we played a game. I like being with them.

Sunday, December 2. An outstanding foot massage and an orange creamsicle smoothie. Need I say more? I think not.

Monday, December 3. Thankful that lump crab meat sauteed in butter is gluten-free (longer story later). Also thankful for my MIL, and how much she loves her family. As part of her continuing recovery from stroke, one of her therapists (occupational?) required her to do a craft project. She framed bunches of pictures of her children, grandchildren, etc., and decorated a “frame tree.” A full-size Christmas tree with wonderful framed pictures of her family nestled among the branches. I’ll show you a picture sometime soon.

Tuesday, December 4. Two of my brothers have birthdays this week. Yesterday and today. I’m thankful for both of them. Mike prays for me all the time, that I will be healed from WTF. Ray might not pray at all, any time, for anyone. But any time I’ve needed him, he’s been there, and I know he always would be. I’m also thankful that although I wasn’t born into a family that gave me sisters, I have found some. You know who you are. I surely do love my brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, December 5. I love living in a place that has changing seasons, and snow. We have only a very few inches, now, but it’s soft and powdery and Biscuit thinks it fell just for him to scoop his face in it. A world-size snow cone just for him.

Thursday, December 6. I got a lovely surprise in the mail from a dear blogging friend. My day was made. (And it was a day that really needed a makeover, lemme tell ya.)

Friday, December 7. Thankful that Jif skipped his usual Friday morning early meeting to stay home a while longer. 🙂

Saturday, December 8. I heard from a sweet, dear blog buddy who hadn’t been around in a very, very long time. Definitely cool.

Sunday, December 9
. My nieces make me laugh. Miss Beautiful was doing cartwheels in her nightgown, while I explored the “stop action” setting on my camera. It worked well, capturing her in mid-cartwheel, legs almost in a split. But her nightgown was up and her monkey panties were clearly visible. She loved the photograph but didn’t like her panties showing. What to do, what to do? She put her undershirt on like pants (I don’t know how), in order to cover up her panties, and did another cartwheel. Again, a beautiful effort, mid-cartwheel, with monkey panties PLUS an undershirt around her waist. Too funny.

Monday, December 10. At the end of a tough, scary day, received beautiful ornaments in the mail, and pictures of a beautiful cat in beautiful clothing. Also learned that prayers are being answered, for a fellow blogger who is very sick. Thankful.

Tuesday, December 11. LG’s holiday chorus concert was absolutely lovely. And at the last minute, on the way home from work, I stopped in Target and found her a white blouse that looked much nicer than the one she had planned to wear. Neither of us liked the other one, but I had not been able to get the energy to go find a better one. But I did. And she looked beautiful.

Wednesday, December 12. The day started with my arms not working well, but they got much, much better as the day went on. I was able to do some shopping and to cook dinner. And I got stuck in traffic on the way to pick up LG, but just in time, it cleared, so I wasn’t late. Sometimes things just work out.

Thursday, December 13. Online shopping is a lifesaver (or a budget killer, but let’s go with lifesaver for now). Especially when there are nice, helpful people like Nathan at LL Bean on “live chat” duty, to help you find a monogrammed duffel bag for your goddaughter and your nephew.

Friday, December 14
. A nice ginger/lemon tea with a friend who searched online for WTF help the whole time I visited with her. WTF is so last year. Always thankful for people who don’t give up on me. On me getting well.

Saturday, December 15
. Watched old videos of LG’s preschool dance recitals. And laughed and laughed. Once, they started playing the wrong music and all the little girls just stood there in position for about 5 minutes. The music didn’t get corrected, so the girls eventually just started trying to do their dance to what was playing. LG emerged as the boss of the dance, pointing to where people should go, tapping another dancer on the shoulder to get her attention, and once just stopping and giving somebody what-for.

Sunday, December 16. It was the day of LG’s performance in the church Christmas play. She and Jif went in early for a rehearsal, so I needed to drive myself. It wasn’t easy. My hands and arms didn’t want to work. My legs were weak. My tongue wasn’t working properly. I arrived five minutes late, unable to even greet the family members that came to visit our church, just to see the play. I gripped the pew in front of me and eased myself down onto the seat beside Jif, my knees shaking. I looked up at the screen in front of the church, where the scripture being read by the liturgist was projected. Through teary eyes, I followed along the passage that was being read at that very moment:
Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;

say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.

God is still listening.

Monday, December 17. The bad news was, I was too weak to stand in the shower. The good news was, we have one of those handy-dandy built-in seats in the shower, so it all worked out. Later in the afternoon, I was doing better and I took LG to a dermatologist for her eczema. The bad news was, when I showed her a little spot on my ear that had been bugging me, she thought it should be biopsied right away, so it was (ouch). But the good news was, she asked me how old I am and when I told her, she said, “No way! You do not have the skin of a 47-year-old!” Sometimes it’s the little things. (I wonder how much she will charge my insurance company for saying that to me? Whatever, it was worth it.)

Tuesday, December 18. I got a bonus check from work. It’s piddly, as is the salary there. But it’s the thought, and the surprise that counts. I don’t know why I was surprised (probably because I suffer from memory loss on top of everything else), because I get a nominal bonus every year at this time. But I had not had one single thought of a bonus. Went right through the annual holiday restaurant luncheon with the boss, without even wondering about a bonus, and then she handed them out. And you’d have thought I’d been given a Wii or something. I was SO tickled. Absurdly so. A BONUS? OMG! A bonus!!!! And my delight made my boss very happy. And made my co-workers think I’m a suck-up.

Wednesday, December 19. I bought the very last Happy Feet DVD in Target. For Jif’s goddaughter.

::tangent::I am no one’s godmother. I was raised in a denomination that doesn’t do godparents. That is sad. Jif was raised Roman Catholic and is godfather to his sister and to his best friend’s daughter. I say this makes me a step-godmother.::end tangent::

The cashier wanted to confiscate it from me. She said they keep getting them in, but by the time she gets back there, they’re gone. Who knew? But I’m thankful that “our” goddaughter will be getting it.

Thursday, December 20.One of my students gave me a giant, candy-coated apple last week, and we finally cut into it. It was delicious! I sent Jif to the store where they make them to get a bunch of last-minute gifts. I’m thankful that he was able to go, and that they had just made a fresh batch, and that the recipients will be delighted, and that we’ve discovered that place, because it will definitely be on our regular holiday must-shop list.

Friday, December 21. The niece who got married last November told us today that she is expecting a baby in June. 🙂

Saturday, December 22. A lot to be thankful for, today. Had our Christmas celebration with part of Jif’s family who will be away on THE DAY. Laughed and joked a lot. They are dealing with infertility issues; LG was quizzing them on geography, “Where is the fertile crescent?” to which the lovely and talented Aunt Jen answered, “Haven’t quite found it yet.” We reminisced about two dear Aunts, Alma and Margaret, no longer on Earth. And there was lots of good food. And the most thanky thing is that Nana can stand up and sit down, unassisted, for the first time in a very long time. She got an ovation every time she did it! (Show-off.)

Sunday, December 23. Late last night — after midnight — Jif shampooed the horrid carpet in the family room. It’s really not so bad after all. Very thankful for nice, clean carpet. And for the one who made it that way.

Monday, December 24. I love having a Christmas tree. This was a day when my arms didn’t work, hardly at all. Jif and LG put up the entire tree. I’m very thankful.

Tuesday, December 25. My SIL hosted the family dinner, and Jif followed my instructions to make the foods that we took. It was a really nice day. My MIL and FIL really liked the presents we gave them. That’s always a coup. They really do have everything. Now, they have everything plus a blanket with an image of their grandkids on it, and a huge crockpot.

Wednesday, December 26. I’m trying to make this Christmas memorable, in many ways, for LG. For many reasons, some maudlin. Anyhow, I was able to go see a movie. The Waterhorse. We liked it. And afterwards, I forced LG to pose by the cardboard waterhorse on display in the lobby, and let me take her picture with her new cell phone. She pretended to be mortified, but guess what photo is her wallpaper now? 😉

Thursday, December 27. Took LG shopping to get something special to wear for her dad’s birthday dinner. When we got to the mall, it was insane, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to manage it. So we went to a little out-of-the-way discount store. There, I spotted an adorable pair of high-heel pumps for LG. This is a big deal, because she’s normally not allowed to wear high-heels. These were more high-heeled in appearance than in actual height — maybe an inch and a half — but they were SO cute — black patent trim, with the rest a black fabric with tiny red and ivory flowers. And she couldn’t believe I’d let her get them. I think she’ll remember them. And my finding them for her.

Friday, December 28. I’m thankful that LG got to have this experience: Her (lovely and talented) Aunt Jen took her and two cousins ice-skating at an outdoor rink. While there, LG saw a girl who remembered her from kindergarten — more than 6 years ago. Brooke. Brookie Cookie, we called her. The neat thing is, LG still has a framed “Best Friends” picture of herself and Brookie Cookie in her room. Even though they haven’t seen each other in all that time. Sometimes I’ve said to her, “Don’t you want to replace that with a newer picture, of you and some other friend? You know, you may never see Brooke again…” She always wanted to keep the picture framed. Just shows what I know.

Saturday, December 29
. I did it. I pulled off a surprise party for Jif’s 50th birthday. I prayed and prayed that I would be able to walk there, to talk there, to use my hands there. And it all happened. Here. He thought that he, LG and I were going out to dinner, and he had chosen the restaurant a few weeks ago. In the meantime, via email, I had reserved a room, planned a menu and gotten 12 adults and 6 kids together. Not a big party, but a party nonetheless. And a true surprise. I really don’t think he knew. There was even a bonus. When we walked in the private room (The Vault), there was a ginormous projection TV screen, with a football game playing. I said, “Hey, I didn’t order that!” But it was perfect for Jif and his entire football-crazed family. The actual big day is not until January 2.

Sunday, December 30. Talked with my mom for a while. She was watching “Steel Magnolias” on TV. That was the last movie she and I saw in a theater. The outfit we sent her for Christmas fits and she likes it. Thankful that she is well enough, at 84, to reminisce on the phone and to enjoy a new outfit.

Monday, December 31. I taught LG to knit today, or at least she thinks I did. I know how to cast on and do a knit stitch, so I showed her. I was trying to make something for Jif, a little more complicated (VERY little, I really don’t know how to knit), but I kept doing something wrong that I couldn’t figure out. Anyhow, she saw me and thought I knew what I was doing, so I showed her what I know. Now she’s happily making herself a purple scarf. And I think she and I really will learn how to knit in the coming year.

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