gratitude: heath toffee, strawberry, mint chocolate chip, and M&M

I’ve waxed poetic on the ice cream sundae before – perfect scoops of rich, creamy ice cream covered in warm fudge, and topped with whipped cream and a cherry.  Ahhhh… 

You can do a lot of miraculous things with truly outstanding ice cream.

Like milkshakes.  Milkshakes inspire poets the world ’round.  Also teachers, writers, entrepreneurs, and parents.  Hell, milkshakes could probably power peace talks if folks would just give them a chance.

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gratitude: personal thermal features

We were hopping around Yellowstone this summer witnessing an extraordinarily varied display of nature when I noticed that one phenomenon in particular resonated with me.  What the park experts called “thermal features.”  (You can check out the experts here.)

Geysers:  Hot springs that erupt periodically.  Some are predictable enough that the park can give a rough estimate of how often they’ll erupt: every 35-55 min. (Baby Daisy), 6 hours 35 min. (Riverside), and 94 or 68 minutes (Old Faithful).  Others are “irregular” (or, as I prefer to call them, erratic).  But whatever…these features shoot super hot water into the air.

Hot springs:  Similar to geysers, but their ridiculously hot water releases energy by evaporation or runoff instead of eruptions.

Steam vents:  These are, well, exactly what they sound like.  Pressurized steam below ground escapes through cracks in the surface, often accompanied by an ominous hissing sound.

You might be asking by now what, pray tell, does any of this geography have to do with my post today…well, as we were bopping from geyser to geyser (T-man was fascinated), I couldn’t help but think, “Hey!  THIS looks awfully familiar.”  It seemed an awful lot like me.  (ahem)

Not so much the erupt-on-a-predictable-schedule kind, which is probably unfortunate for those who live in my sphere.  Definitely the ridiculously hot temperatures, and hissing isn’t out of the question under certain conditions.

However.  I’ve found the venting aspect to be critical to my mental health.  Sometimes you just need to spill, you know?  So I’m grateful for the folks who so graciously allow me to vent on occasion.

gratitude: a medley

A cool breeze drifting through my window in the car rider line.

The first halfway decent night’s sleep after a week of sinus trouble.

An app called ColorFree…hours and hours of portable digital coloring.

The look on Phoebe’s face as she sticks her head out the car window.

Cooler mornings, afternoons in the 70s, and the thought that fall might [knock on wood] finally be here.

BrightSide’s mediation skills.

Glasses.  Because holy crap, it’s like I went half blind overnight and I can’t see Jack without them.

The joy of taking photos.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: Amazon, Amazon, Amazon.

gratitude: when the marathon becomes a sprint (aka: the Nike Hallelujah)

My shopping experiences with Bear have born a greater resemblance to marathons than sprints.  The girl’s never met a store she didn’t want to browse, and the concept of window shopping eludes her.  Every aisle, sometimes twice, running commentary the whole time. 

What can I say?  The girl loves to shop.

Except a single glorious experience when it came to back to school shoe shopping.

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gratitude: little brothers all grown up

When I look at T-man and Bear I dream of a day when they’ll enjoy a relationship like I have with my brother.

He’s a constant.  A steadfast force in my world.

He always lends an ear when I need another perspective and unwaveringly supports my decisions.

He loves my kids for the looney tune individuals they are and encourages me in my writing.

He inspires me every day – to be strong, brave, and make the world a better place.

I am truly blessed.

gratitude: the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Ah, the power of sisterhood.

She’s the one who promises she’ll always tell you if your hair looks whack.

She’ll point out the insanity of killing yourself over school projects or car rider lines.

She’ll commiserate over teen angst, girl hormones, and middle school drama.  Plus offer wine without judgement.

And she’s the one who promises to point out your chin hair when you get too old to see it yourself.

Bless.

gratitude: the yin and yang of it all

I’ve said it more than once to the kids: wouldn’t life be boring if everything was the same?  They roll their eyes because by now they’re convinced it’s just one more teaching moment, but really…you might as well try to convince me the world should be beige.

I like to joke about BrightSide and me having a whole yin/yang thing.  When we were younger and something would go wrong I’d be all Argh!  How can you say there’s something positive in this! because, y’know, he was always about the bright side.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to look for the lessons (fight the urge to say I-told-you-so, BS), but my hubby is still best at reflexively zen responses to bumps in the road.

I love the yin and yang of us.  Numbers/words.  Cooking/baking.  Neat freak/loosey goosey.  (Sorry about the blood pressure spike, love.)  Movies, books, hobbies, strengths, weaknesses.  We excel in different sports and disagree about tattoos, but we fit together perfectly.  I’m proud of who I am.  I see what an intelligent and compassionate man he is.  And we make each other better parents and people every day.

gratitude: looking for the glass half full

Ah, the summer wind down.

The days when my kids are alternately bored out of their skulls, dreading the start of school, and feverishly pitching ideas for activities just in case they haven’t managed to cram enough fun into the 9½ weeks of summer gone by.

These are the days when I juggle last minute appointments and school prep, except this year my house decided to mutiny.  So while other parents are shopping for binders and book covers, I’m listening to a demolition.

No dramatic flair – there is literally a man with a sledgehammer knocking out tiles, walls, and flooring in my bathroom.  I never in my wildest dreams imagined I’d hear these sorts of crashing noises inside our home.

On the up side:  We didn’t go crashing through the shower floor ourselves before the water damage was discovered, it didn’t happen during the madness of our summer rush, and the kids (HALLELUJAH) will be back at school in a couple of weeks.

Now, we’ll be talking major gratitude once I have a bathroom of my own again.