Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday night grateful moment

How long has it been since this blog has sat quiet a whole seven days between posts? Awhile, really, take my word for it, you don't have to actually look back and read to find out. A looooong while. But, this week got a little busy and then it got busier and then busier, and I looked up and here it is Friday night. Happy happy happy to be at Friday night!

My first thought was "I'm too tired" to articulate my gratitude and off I went, searching for visuals to do the trick. But then I got a second wind of sorts and decided to take a stab at actually verbalizing a few of the things I am most grateful for. For all its "effort," putting the thoughts into words that string together and (generally) make sense helps transition me more solidly into a lasting state of grateful.

Toward that end...

I adore living where there isn't a lot of light pollution. A few nights back we went to sleep with our bedroom deck slider door open, enjoying the evening air. Well, the enjoyable evening air turned to really-cold middle-of-the-night air, so I got up and closed the slider, but couldn't help looking out and up at the beautiful, brilliant stars. I am so grateful for even fleeting reminders that we're part of something so much bigger. (I know I've posted the image above in previous grateful posts but I can't help it. I think this one is a keeper.)

Every time I eat a tomato from the garden, I feel like I'm living on borrowed time. OK, so that's a little dramatic. But I AM enjoying every last tomato, and the flavor just never gets old. I'm so grateful for home-grown produce. (Time to mow the basil again this weekend! I feel a pesto dish or two coming up!)

I saw a friend in passing today, someone who used to be more of a friend than currently, and this thought went through my brain: I'm grateful for every friend I've ever had. Friendships change, and morph, and can come around again or leave entirely. I've been changed by friendships; I've learned a lot over the years: about the value of friendship, about myself and about others, as well. There are some people I wouldn't invite back into my life for anything, but that doesn't take away from the time we were closer.

I am so grateful to live in a home that has love and kindness and tenderness at its core. My men are so accommodating of my sometimes-emotional ways, and don't mock me when I cry at silly ads on TV or Secretariat or... (fill in the blank). I get hugs when I need them, and affection and compliments and appreciation for my contributions. Being me is pretty awesome.

Today the temperature was in the 80s. What's up with that? I am grateful for the sunshine and warmth, even though in my fall-lovin' brain we should be cooler and rainy and such. But I keep thinking I really shouldn't still have to water everything, should I? I fear my yard walkabout this weekend... what may have expired from my neglect? We'll see...

I'm grateful for the coming week, the coming month, the season that is upon us! I know I give a lot of whoo-hoo to autumn, but Oct-Nov-Dec hold my very favorite dates of the year. Now to remember to breathe and actually enjoy it!

When I get a little caught up in my own head, thinking over the same petty issues or problems, I am always always grateful to be able to turn to my collection of sayings and images and wander through, looking for something to jump out at me. It never fails that something grabs my attention, at least one, maybe more... This week, it was this simple piece, from one of my favorite artists, Rachel Awes:

I hope that you have a lovely weekend, filled with all the things you want and need to greet another week!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday night grateful moment

This night, I am feeling blessed, and grateful. And tired. And a little bit not-sick, still. But mostly, blessed and grateful...

...for Friday nights, for the peace and relaxation that a day of rest promises.

...for the anticipation of sleeping in. Sometimes that's even better than *actually* sleeping in, though that's pretty special as well.

...for our sweet pooch, Chief, with his persistent affection and loving ways. Sometimes I'm still amazed that we only have one dog, after having had such a pack. But we're pretty content with our one (Sara, that was just for you). He's awesome.

...for my guys and their appreciation of me. I'm a lucky mom and wife.

...for the earlier evenings. I am less fond of the darker mornings, but I guess we can't have one without the other. I have been going to bed earlier because of the darkness--in fact, once it's dark I'm convinced it's much later than it is so last night found me thinking about PJs around 7:30. Ha.

...for peanut sauce. We had noodles and vegetables and spring rolls with peanut sauce for dinner. As much as I may make it from the same recipe, each time, there are times when it's just better than others. This particular batch was sublime. Yum.

...for teamwork. Husband and I tackled a DIY project this afternoon--mostly he tackled and I assisted--and we got it done! Two sets of hands is a good thing.

...for not having ever truly succumbed to illness in this duel I've been in with the sore-throat-gravelly-voice-cough monster. I never actually Felt Bad, so I insisted frequently last weekend to my brother and sister-in-law, "I am not sick!" I think that actually helped, in a weird mind-over-matter way. That, and I would have felt horrible to land on their doorstep, BE sick, and spread germs throughout their house. Hence, I was NOT sick! (I do, however, currently clear my throat a lot and suck on throat lozenges. Great traits in a co-worker, don't you think? I want to be 100% by Monday. 100%!)

...for the previously mentioned brother and SIL, and their girls. We had a wonderful visit last weekend, as always, and enjoyed hanging out, eating, talking, roaming the Olympic Peninsula and just being together. The boys had their annual football outing and the girls enjoyed girl time. I am always grateful to have a sibling in this world, but especially that I have Shelby, and that he has Kim. Love you both.

...for flexible and gracious friends, who understood when I bailed on everything from lunch to coffee this week. This was a short week, having taken Monday off as a family, so the other four days felt especially short in the work arena.

...for anticipation. I've alluded to an upcoming trip, very vaguely at best, but finally feel close enough that it will happen: dear friend (or as we refer to each other: heirloom friend) Corinne and I are headed to NYC for a week of girly time in October. We've been hatching and planning and being completely dorky with filling up a spreadsheet of everything we want to see and do... and I think it's finally hit me that we're doing it. I love the anticipation!

...for the months ahead (speaking of anticipation!). Here we are, just on the cusp of my Favorite Season Ever: Fall... ahhhh. In spite of some horrendous wildfires in Washington and Idaho that have smoked up our valley and made it seem like a warm version of Narnia (always gray but never rainy, that works, doesn't it?), it is slowly getting cooler during the days, and the brisk overnight temps have slowed down growth, including the weeds! October, November and December are my favorite months of the year, and Here They Are. Whoooo!

...for all the information that is available to so many these days. (I would say "everyone," but I know there is a digital divide and would love to help bridge it...) I live in awe of the www that precedes every url out there. It's an amazing thing, and something I don't take for granted. There's a lot of garbage that comes along with the amazing, but it seems worth the effort to sift through it, to me.

...for end-of-season watermelon. Seth and I can be quite voracious with the watermelon, and as they've been disappearing from stores, we've been savoring each one like it is the last one we'll ever eat. And by savoring, I mean inhaling. Such flavor! Already looking forward to next summer. Ha.

I could go on. Seriously. Some weeks I am just so grateful for all of it, from the fact that I woke up this morning, to the fact that my son still hugs me quite readily and my husband tells me (and shows me) that he loves me, frequently. And I can read! And write! And pray without worrying that someone will report me. And enjoy the bounty of a rather overproductive agricultural community. I am even grateful I can sing, though it's best if that stays in the shower...

Other weeks it take a bit more mental finagling to put words to my gratitude. I'm not sure why that is, but it just is. But I don't worry; I've been doing this long enough now to know that the words always come back, and the gratitude just IS, words or no. I'm grateful for that too...

I hope your weekend brings you relaxation and joy, and peace.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday 13: 13 quotes from Bill Gates

So I saw this book of Bill Gates quotes (Impatient Optimist) at Costco last weekend and picked it up on a whim. I like quotes, I like technology, I can't say I "like" Bill Gates but I certainly don't think he's the anti-Christ (I have a few friends--one who shall remain nameless, in particular--who have thought so).

I thought I'd share 13 quotes from the book with you today:

[Melinda] and I enjoy sharing ideas and talking about what we are learning. When one of us is being very optimistic, the other takes on the role of making sure we're thinking through all the tough issues.
-Working Together: What Great Partnerships Succeed, 2010

I don't have an iPod. A phone is a nice portable device to have your music on. Maybe some other people will think so too in the future.
-The Big Idea, CNBC, May 8, 2006

If you had asked me at any point how big Microsoft could be, Paul [Allen] and I once thought we could write all the software in the world with 100 people. If you had told us that someday we would have more than 5,000 people writing software, we would have shaken our heads.
-CNNMoney/Fortune, Oct. 2, 1995

If a kid is addicted to a personal computer, I think that's far better than watching TV, because at least his mind is making choices.
-Programmers at Work, 1986

I came to be the leader of the antisocial group [at Harvard]. We clung to each other as a way of validating our rejection of all those social people.
-Commencement address, Harvard University, June 7, 2007

People's perception of the importance of my role is certainly greater than the reality.
-Newsweek, Dec. 1, 1996

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.
-Business @ the Speed of Thought, 1999

I've always been hardcore about looking at what we did wrong. We're not known for reflecting back on the things that went well. We can be pretty brutal about the parts that didn't do well.
-Masters of Enterprise, 1999

[One] way that running a foundation is not like running a business is that you don't have customers who beat you up when you get things wrong or competitors who work to take those customers away from you. You don't have a stock price that goes up and down to tell you how you're doing. This lack of natural feedback loop means that we as a foundation have to be even more careful in picking our goals and being honest with ourselves when we are not achieving them.
-Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Annual Letter, 2009

The world is getting better, but it's not getting better fast enough, and it's not getting better for everyone.
-Creative Capitalism, 2008

When your own government sues you, it's not a pleasant experience. I wasn't sitting there going, "ha, ha, ha, I'll do what I want." I was thinking this is the worst thing that's ever happened to me.
-ZD Net, Jan. 28, 1998

I devote maybe ten percent to business thinking. Business isn't that complicated. I wouldn't want to put it on my business card. [I'm a] scientist. Unless I've been fooling myself. When I read about great scientists like, say, Crick and Watson and how they discovered DNA, I get a lot of pleasure. Stories of business success don't interest me in the same way. Say you added two years to my life and let me go to business school. I don't think I would have done a better job at Microsoft.
-Playboy, July 1994

It's unusual to have so much luck in one life, I think. But it's been a major factor in what I have been able to do.
-CNBC Town Hall Event, Columbia University, Nov. 12, 2009

I could keep going, but these represent a few of the highlights in terms of his work (both at Microsoft and their foundation) and he's perspective on everything from the antitrust case to general business philosophy.

Any favorites of the bunch? Let me know! Of course, if you know of another Bill Gates quote I haven't included that you think is particularly well-said, I'd love to hear it.

Happy Thursday, and check out other Thursday 13 participants here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Midweek reminder: Life is not so much about beginnings and endings

But in my own life, as I grew older, I realized I had only questions. For a long time this made me feel vulnerable and afraid, and then suddenly, as though I had reached an emotional puberty, it made me feel vulnerable and comfortable... What was more important was that I finally realized that making sense of my life meant, in part, accepting the shifting nature of its sands... A kind of earthquake in the center of my life shook everything up, and left me to rearrange the pieces... As the aftershocks reverberate, I have had to approach some simple tasks in new ways... Looking back at my past. Loving my husband. Raising my children. Being a woman. It is no accident that each of these tasks is couched in the present participle, that lovely part of speech that simply goes on and on and on. Oddly enough, what I have learned... is that life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It’s about muddling through the middle. That is what I’m doing now. Muddling through the middle. -Anna Quindlen

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday night grateful moment

This infographic has been widely shared across the internet the past couple of years, but it is still a worthwhile grouping of statistics to pause and reflect upon.

I am grateful for these things tonight, and many more; I trust the same is true for you.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday 13: Randomness is awesome, even when I'm not.

1. My brain is foggy with a cold that is trying to plant itself in my head. I'm fighting the good fight and will not give in. I want to have a peaceful and happy weekend, not a head-exploding and snot-filled weekend. (You're welcome for that last lovely visual.)

2. My treatment cocktail of choice right now includes, but is not limited to: Airborne, Vitamin C and Echinacea, with a lot of water to wash it all down. If you try and tell me that one or all of those are placebos, I may have to hunt you down. All I know is that the sore throat I had when I went to bed did NOT advance in the night, and that in itself is a victory for the cocktail. So kiss my lack-of-substantiated-research hiney.

3. Do I seem to have a bit of a 'tude? Pardon me. Some weeks are like that. Add an almost-cold, and well...

4. Love love loving the sunshine.

5. Feeling a little less love for the cold temperatures. 33 two nights ago. 37 last night. I went out at o-dark-thirty this morning to pick apples off the tree--I know, what?--and the crescent moon over the hills was just lovely.

6. Have been in discussions about the 9/11 remembrance ceremonies and a) how long we should keep them going and b) how big a deal they should be. My thoughts are: how about somewhere between an enormous hoopla and talking to the Kardashians? Seriously, NBC. You suck. I mean, other than SMASH, which you had better bring back soon. Maybe I should just say The Today Show sucks... that might cover it. (Did you like that "in discussions?" That was pretty juicy, like I have these executive sessions to discuss important issues of the day. Sure, I'll let you think that.)

7. Slowly resigning myself to the end of the fabulous fruit-and-veggie season... slowly. Very much enjoying the bounty of tomatoes that hasn't quite slowed down yet. There is simply no substitute for picked-three-minutes-ago vine-ripened tomatoes (not to be confused with run-of-the-mill vine-ripenend tomatoes). Heavenly.

8. I've been hankering for some fall arts-and-crafts time, and can feel it coming... crochet hooks at the ready! Maybe a little yarn shopping this weekend? Because of course, there's always room for more yarn, am I right?

9. I can feel my head/brain/thoughts drifting as I type. I am curious if I'll actually get to 13 before nodding off (sleep has been less-than-optimal the past couple of nights). May need another shot of espresso...

10. In general, I love mornings more than any other time of the day, by magnitudes of, like, a billion. Even mornings where I'm half-there are better than afternoons. Afternoons are just energy-sucking, to me. A little afternoon nap (can you feel me plotting?) and the evenings can perk me up. But mornings, glorious mornings!


I was singing Morning Has Broken early this morning, if that gives you any idea of exactly how annoying I can be. I was actually quite taken by how husky my cold-inclined voice sounded, so that's probably mostly why I sang... Ha, such a dork. Luckily, husband is equally morning-oriented, and Seth slept through it.

11. Not feeling breakfast-y this morning but know I will regret that later. What to eat when you're not feeling 100%? I would love some ideas. Please share.

12. I am fantasizing about my afternoon nap.

13. This list ended up being less random and more "look at me and my sleep-deprived-not-well self." Lucky you. Thank you for indulging me. I am sure there are many more interesting Thursday 13s out there that you will find your way to... and you can find them, here!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Midweek reminder: The canvas of life

In the canvas of life, a flat landscape would be pretty boring. It is the valleys and the mountains that help us to appreciate the flatlands. It is the dark that makes us appreciate the light, and the cold that makes us appreciate the warm. -Anne Copeland 

 Many have expressed this sentiment in similar ways, but her phrasing spoke to me with its simplicity and the visual aspect of a canvas, imagining one's life as a painting.

What would the painting of your life look like?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday night grateful moment

Feeling a little visual in my thankfulness tonight, and short on words. I think I used them all up this week, yakking here and there and everywhere. I know, you're shocked. I am too. I didn't know words could get used up, but they can. I trust I will fill up with words again over the weekend... but between now and then, a little visual thankfulness.

First off, I'm grateful for Pinterest, the keeper of all my visuals.

I'm also grateful for...

 ...reasons to smile and say "awwww."

...reminders to be grateful.

...color and creativity in the kitchen.

...more gratitude reminders...

...more cuteness., always with the coffee!

...and cheese, another constant.


...people who think up new craft ideas so I don't have to!



...inspiration to get running again!

...reminders to mind my own business!

...this beautiful place we call home. Ever grateful for that!

I hope the weekend brings you a chance to recharge and appreciate the blessings around you. 


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Midweek reminder: The magnitude or grace of what we're being offered

I can feel how large, how essential this moment is as it’s happening; that is what I have come to love about being an adult, to the extent that I can claim that title: that one knows more about how good things are, how much they matter, as they’re happening, that knowledge isn’t necessarily retrospective anymore.

When I was younger, I missed so much, failing to be fully present, only recognizing the quality of particular moments and gifts after the fact. Perhaps that’s the one thing that being “grown up” is: to realize in the present the magnitude or grace of what we’re being offered.
-Mark Doty, Heaven’s Coast

Found ages ago at one of my favorite blogs: A Design So Vast.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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