Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday night grateful moment

Friday night in the old country. Well, that's what I call Canada, anyway. It's what I used to call the actual old countries growing up--you know, the general Eastern European area my ancestors came from... with a little bit of an accent... My old country always brings out the grateful in me. One of my all-time favorite grateful lists is from another visit here. Good times. And this afternoon, driving in under the bluest skies, looking out on various lakes along the way, it was indeed lovely.

This week I'm grateful that I slept through our first big windstorm. I won't say I didn't have a leeetle help, but still, I stayed asleep and actually overslept (that's what the help will do for you!). Sweet. Well, other than the rushing around after the oversleeping, it was pretty sweet.

My men are always high on my grateful list, and this week's no exception. They both spoiled me wonderfully on my birthday, in spite of being in various stages of illness and recovery. It was a lovely day and now a distant memory, other than the espresso I make every morning that reminds me of my thoughtful husband. I haven't had an espresso machine in years, but all my hours--I should count them up sometime!--of standing in front of a big old restaurant espresso machine in Sydney in 1989 came rolling back to me and I frothed up milk like a pro! Like a pro, I tell you.

Reminders are good, don't you think? (Well, I guess I can think of a few instances when they might not be great, but let's focus on the positive, shall we?) I am thinking of the kind of reminders that bring you back to you. Remind you of who you are. That may seem rather counter-intuitive--if YOU don't know who YOU are, who would? Well, if you're anything like me, you can get a little lost some days in the everydayness of what you're doing and who you're doing it for, and if that list is longer than YOU, sometimes you need reminders. Still with me? I was reminded this week of my "strengths," in a book I'm rereading for a local nonprofit leadership group. The book is Now, Discover Your Strengths, and husband and I each took the quiz a number of years back. I had forgotten that my strengths (according to this book, anyway...) are: responsibility, strategic, positivity, discipline, maximizer. (Does the word strategic stand out to anyone else as odd? Shouldn't it be strategy? Kind of like that old Sesame Street thing: one of these things is not like the others...) Anyway, I was grateful to be reminded of those words (whether I agree with them 100% or not is another story), and I'm grateful to still get a chance to use my strengths, even if it's not in an office, every day.

I'm grateful it's only just under three weeks until Thanksgiving. Such a wonderful holiday, and getting to spend it with my family and having Seth too? Golden. Bonus. Bolden? Golnus? Doesn't quite roll off the tongue, eh? I'll work on it. Meanwhile, I am very ready for turkey. And stuffing. And potatoes. And cranberry sauce. All the good stuff that makes up The Perfect Bite. Oh, the sublime anticipation.

As I sit at my aunt's, having just visited with my Grandma, with another aunt flying in for the day tomorrow, I am truly grateful for my family. I don't take for granted the bonds of my mother and her sisters, and their respective ties to Grandma as well... family means so many things to different people, but I'm grateful as can be that for me, family means hugs and warmth, good food, great conversation, understanding within differences, and love. Lots of love.

Creativity + persistence. I'm grateful for artists who can see past the practicalities that the rest of us get hung up on (sometimes the hangups are necessary, but still, what great art came from a deadline setter?). This video took more than a year and almost 300,000 jelly beans to make. If someone came to you and told you that timeframe and scope, would you sign off? Me neither. But I'm glad she did.

Oh, I am so grateful for music. So so grateful. I got my iTunes all set up and ready to roll on my new laptop and that was a bit of a chore. There are some new features to iTunes that are helpful, like being able to download all your purchases, from the beginning of time. As I browsed through music I bought way back when, I got all nostalgic, of course, so there are a few new mixes on the way... of old favorites and new favorites and OF COURSE holiday favorites as well.

I know I talk a lot about paying attention, listening, having similar themes come to you (me) again and again, but I swear a week doesn't go by when I don't see or hear something that I would have probably completely missed a week earlier... This week I saw a clip posted by a food blog on Facebook about a chef, Ottolenghi. A week ago that would have meant nothing to me, I might have clicked on it but more likely I would have skipped right on by. Because I happened to get a beautiful cookbook by Ottolenghi from my aunt MJ for my birthday, I of course clicked over. His love of cooking and cooking with people he loves: love it. I'm grateful for examples of people who put the love into the work, maybe even ahead of the work, and the work is better because of it.

Ottolenghi: Love is the Right Word on

I'm grateful for technology, every day. It makes staying in touch so much easier, and in some cases just simply possible. From texts and phone calls from husband while we're traveling, to skype abilities with the parents and Facebooking with friends, technology is a lovely benefit of living in the world right now. As Seth and I were listening to Steve Jobs on the way up today, on an iPhone, no less (!), and the author was recounting the first time Steve saw a computer and what an impact that made on him, I looked over at Seth and was struck by how second nature technology is for him (he's currently helping my aunt with some of her computer issues), and that the moment of seeing his first computer was when he was days old. So what will his a-ha moment be? What will be the thing that he looks back on and thinks, that was the first time I saw X, and my life was changed by that?

Whatever you have on tap for the weekend, may it bring good things your way. What are you grateful for this week? I hope it's a long list!



  1. So thankful you had a good trip to Canada yesterday.

    I am also thankful that it is Sabbath. When you do physical work it is always lovely to have a day of real rest.

    This may sound bad but I am thankful for Aleve. It makes my day so much easier...and you know me, I am always looking for easy!

    Years ago I did the original Strengths Finder too and must find the new book. Have to remind myself once in a while what strengths I supposedly carry within.

    Love to read your list each week and for that I am thankful...that I can read (I do not take that for granted) but mostly that you are such a delightfully thankful person.

  2. I loved the song and animation with 288,000 jelly beans... very cool. It would be fun to try some of that. It reminded me a lot of pointillism.

    I am very thankful to be nearing the end of the framing stage of the project. It may still be more than a month before we get windows... it was not until this past week that we added another two windows in the loft... and in fact that loft added seven windows that were not in the original plans.

    I can identify with putting a lot of love into my work. The orphanage was certainly built with a lot of love... and this project is no different. Good enough is never good enough... it has to be the best we can possibly do... nothing less. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing, right?

    I am thankful that you make the time to visit grandma... wish we could be there now too... but we are in a time warp that hopefully will have roofers coming on Monday. How exciting is that? It would be good to have a week of no rain now... but that is not what the forecast is telling us.

  3. I am still feeling SUPER grateful to be home, in my nest, and (slowly, and I do mean SLOWLY) getting back into the groove of things.

    I'm getting kind of excited about the holidays, too. It feels like new territory...

  4. It's so lovely to remember to be grateful.

    I'm grateful for good friends who even though I have been neglecting them lately, make it feel like we just saw each other last week.

  5. I am so glad you had a happy birthday :-) I'm thankful for so many things, in fact, I started blogging again to talk about them all LOL!

    I'm with the Islander...I'm thankful for Aleve, too, it helps when the cortisone shots in the knee wear off!


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