gratitude: a little stick now

So I have this friend…

** In a names have been changed to protect the innocent sort of way, we’ll call her Kay for the sake of this post.

Kay has what you might call a bit of (ahem) trouble with needles, if by “trouble” you mean “transforms from a sweet, sassy, competent woman to the Incredible Hulk at the sight of that pointed implement.”  Shifting from reasonable adult to hazy minded fight-or-flight creature in five seconds flat is her specialty.  Kay’s been known to actually warn medical professionals beforehand that she cannot be held responsible for her actions once the needle appears in the room, and woe to those who do not heed the warning.

Now, to be fair, I hear tell Kay’s gotten much better recently when it comes to her needle phobia.  This is a relief because I’ve always harbored a secret fear that some nurse would freak out, tranquilize her, and call the police, and it’s kinda hard to come up with bail money on short notice.

All of this is my round about way of saying I’m (exceedingly) glad I don’t have a thing with needles.  I get a lot of blood work done – have for years now – and that’s a whole lot easier when needles don’t send me into a massive panic.  Some draws are easier than others, but none of them cause me to threaten the lives of sweet little nurses.

Ahem.  Not that I’m saying that’s happened.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: capitals, planets, math, and geography

"Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one,
'cept February..." 

blah blah something...

whatever, February has twenty-eight,
twenty-nine in a leap year.


I have a rather porous memory.  Some of my friends had the gift of reading something once and it was lodged firmly in their long term memory; I had to work a bit harder than that, and even then I wasn’t always successful.

I mean, learning the capitals for all fifty states?  Talk about torture.  (And talk about gone.  If that info’s still stored in my brain it’s hiding behind some long lost episode of M.A.S.H. or something.)

Mnemonic devices were my saving grace for everything from remembering planet names to the order of operations.  It’s how I memorized the colors of the rainbow, names of the Great Lakes, and that dessert is spelled with two esses.

Having a brain that needs those connections made me a better teacher, too.  Anyone can lecture from a textbook…I taught my kids tips and tricks, how to link facts together, ways to make learning personal so it’s easier to retain.  The same memory glitches that made me work harder are what helped me find better solutions for the kids whose lives I touched.  Including our own.

Thank goodness for those memory aids.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: here in the 21st century

I’ve been known to utter things like this to the kids when I feel like sounding a hundred years old:

  • I remember when I’d leave home for the day and that was that – I was out of reach.  If I didn’t make plans to meet up with my friends the night before then I was SOL.
  • Before we moved I always made sure I got my friends’ addresses.  No, not their e-mail addresses, I didn’t have one of those until I was in college.  I got their actual addresses so I could send them actual letters.
  • There was no such thing as online shopping.  Needed a new pair of shoes?  I was out of luck until my mom had a free day to go to the shoe store, and there was a fifty-fifty chance that wouldn’t happen until one of my siblings needed shoes, too.
  • Driving required dependance on the kindness of strangers.  If you ran out of gas, there was no OnStar or calling AAA.  You’d be hoofing it to the closest gas station (and hoping it was open).  Being stranded on the side of the road meant hoping a helpful neighbor happened by.  Getting in an accident dropped you off the map until you were towed somewhere; then you could ask to use the phone to call your parents.
  • There was a time when it wasn’t a choice between a flip phone, a smart phone, or an Android.  There was one phone, and it was plugged into the wall in your house.

Folks talk about the cell phone being both a blessing and a curse.  That constantly being available to the world makes it difficult to back off and refresh.

As for me, I land on the blessing side of things.  I handle roughly 90% of my scheduling and such while I’m out and about; I can’t imagine having to come home to a voicemail filled with messages to return.  I love being able to reach out to my sister with a question or a silly thought, and knowing my kids can reach me in an emergency is priceless.  (Granted, they think a headache and icky feeling at school constitutes an emergency, but the premise holds.)

Plus I know how to turn the phone off to go underground for a while.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: time to ‘Roe

I’ve been bitten by the Lularoe bug.

The first time BrightSide heard about them he burst out laughing.  “You mean like college?” he asked.  “With those leggings and all those giant sweaters?!”

No.  It’s not at all like that.  It’s like wrapping my legs in a layer of the softest material on earth, and in fun colors to boot.  They’re the kind of leggings that compel you to feel your legs all day long (admit it, you know you do) and give you an irrational urge to do the same to strangers on the street.

Which sounds entirely bizarre.  Unless you ‘roe.  Then you totally get it.

I’d like to say I’ve gained some style sense since college – no swimming in enormous, oversized sweaters and sweatshirts these days.  I’m still covering my assets, mind you, but with tops that look less like tents and more like, well, clothes.

But these leggings…oh my word, these leggings.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: four walls and a roof

My first year in college I started a group called Students Against Hunger and Homelessness.  (That’s right, S.A.H.H.  A terrible acronym, I know.  Or I know now anyway.)

I felt passionately about both causes – still do, in fact – and since there wasn’t much attention focused on them at the time I thought we might make a difference.  Our first meeting drew maybe fifteen students, not very many considering the size of the student body but it was a start.  We primarily worked to raise awareness in our insulated bubble of a university.

We hosted a camp out in the outdoor amphitheater in the hopes of shining a light on what it’s like to be without shelter for the night.  Students brought sleeping bags, and I may have seen a flask (or ten), which is arguably more comfort than many people on the streets had.  Even so, when it was 2:00am and a sleeping bag was the only thing between me and the cold, hard cement there was no denying the privilege of having a roof over my head.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: cozy warmth

It’s the little things.  Like coffee.  A soft pillow at night.  The surprise danish dropped off by a neighbor.

And warm slippers.

This sounds rather foolish, perhaps, but in the dead of winter sliding my feet into snug boot slippers makes me sigh in contentment.  Warm…cozy…like a foot hug on a chilly day.

I’m sure this might strike some as slightly ridiculous, to be grateful for slippers.  But then I think about how I might feel if I didn’t have them.  To be cold but unable to reach into a drawer for another pair of socks.  To shiver without a warm sweatshirt to bundle into.

To be able to slip icy feet into soft fleece?  It’s a gratitude, indeed.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: fire and ice

We had our first snowfall over the weekend.  It started late Friday evening – sleet changed to sleet/flurries shifted to giant flakes drifting steadily to the ground.  It was absolutely beautiful.

Saturday morning we woke to that special world, one where a quiet blanket drops over the street and a white ground glistens in the sun.  Before the kids, the sleds, the footprints crisscrossing yards and driveways – just soft, smooth snow covering everything.  A fresh day.

I do love the snow, even more from inside a warm house.  Add in a fire flickering in the fireplace and it’s heavenly.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

gratitude: our fresh start

I know lots of people get all twisted up about New Year’s Eve resolutions…shoot, I’ve had years when I got all fired up and came raging out of the gates with goals and such, but apparently this is not that year.  Not at all.

I’m looking forward to the new year, though.  I’m heading toward 2017 with my eye on the horizon and hope for a fresh start.

Could I lose some weight?  Exercise more?  Eat more fruits and vegetables?  Well, sure, but I’m not focusing on the details this year, I’m looking at the big picture.  And the big picture is about so much more than numbers on a scale.

I want 2017 to wipe the slate clean.  I want to start the new year with eyes wide open, ready to approach the world with honest clarity.  I’m welcoming the lessons life plans to bring me and hope to grow into myself more each day.  (Though I won’t lie, it would be nice not to grow out of my yoga pants more each day.)

This is our chance – the whole world’s chance – to hit reboot and start new.  I hope for everyone’s sake that we take it.

My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.