“Go away.” I keep my eyes on my monitor; my fingers on the keys.
“Look out your window. Quietly.”
I harumph up from my work. Persistence rewarded.
Ahhh. The tension melts. It’s these moments that count. Never mind the family is feasting on my asters and astilbe. Mother sniffs the cone flowers before meandering on.
Yes, I did see twins fawns earlier this summer. Mother nursing them on the side of the road, several miles from my back yard. It must be a good year for twins. Or maybe Mother Nature is making up for the harshness of last winter.
High on my list today is Loved-One. I’m thankful for him almost everyday, but today is our anniversary, so all that he gifts me with is flooding my mind today. Plus, this weekend, I hosted a bridal shower for my godson and his beautiful fiancée. A Jack-N-Jill shower with couples at every stage of marriage.
Here’s my list, in no particular order, but dominated by one person:
A companion that sees me in ways no one else does, like the way he recognizes how much like my dad I am. The good parts, like my sense of humor and my human behavior experiments, and my willingness to be a little goofy, while he forgets about those other parts, like my stubbornness, and how easily bruised my ego is.
A willing sous chef, who sets up while I chop and does the dishes while I flail about the kitchen.
Laughter every day of my life. The good kind that makes my heart light and my belly ache. Rarely the kind that is at someone’s expense.
A man who told me, when I was going through a particularly blue period, that I was only allowed 10,000 tears a day. After that, I’d have to buck up until the next day. I cried and cried and cried some more. After which he said, “Sorry, the tears came too fast to count. I only got to three.”
A man who likes to eat as much as I like to cook; and likes to eat healthy food, too.
A friend of few words and wonderfully wise insight.
Someone who loves my children almost as much as I do, and would do anything for them, as long as he’s had a cup of coffee first.
A grandfather who is patient and kind and speaks softly.
A partner who likes to do a lot of the same things I do, like bicycle, hike, swim, garden, ice cream; and is willing to try some new things like the ballet and book club; and recognizes we are not the same person and sometimes we need, absolutely must go our own way.
A toddler whisperer. Yes, he really seems to understand how frustrating it is for to communicate, with so much to say, and so little command of the words required.
An answer to a prayer.
A soul-mate who gets pleasure from a balanced check book. Of course I can do it. But, do I like it? A resounding NO.
A travel companion who enjoys watching army ants intersect a path of leaf-cutting ants as much as I do. Guess what? The leaf-cutters are the dominant ants, not the army ants.
I could go on and on. In three words,
I am blessed.
As always, if you’d like to join me and Laurel in a Monday-Blessing-Counting exercise, hop on over the Alphabet Salad and link up. It’s a great way to start the work week. Or, just click on the link below to read some other lists. Always some great reminders of my abundance.
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Okay, you noticed. I have NOT been at Gratitude Monday for 42 weeks. I just decided to match up my week with Laurel’s over at Alphabet Salad where I link up with other grateful readers/writers. Oh, I’m so happy I no longer need to come up with a catchy title for the week. Such a clever woman! Wait. How many weeks did it take me to come up with that?
So here’s my list in no particular order:
Siblings: I still have all eight of mine and all of my siblings-in-law. No one’s lost a born child. Divorce is the only loss we’ve suffered.
Children: All are healthy and happy and employed.
Black-light 5K and glow in the dark powder. The 11,000 walker/ runners put off quite a glow as me, Beanie and her 5 children walked the 5K. It was really, really dark and I didn’t get home until 1 AM. I can’t remember the last time I stayed up that late. I had a great time, but once was enough. Not because of the walk, not because of the hour. Because of the dark. It’s hard enough keeping track of five happy kids in daylight, but dark, I mean really dark. Well, I was definitely like a mother hen protecting her chicks from a hawk.
Vine-ripened tomatoes, basil and eggplant from the garden. All of these alone are great, Melanzane alla Parmigiana, baked aubergines with Parmesan cheese. Mmmmmm….Heaven.
Ethan Hawke.My he’s pretty. I watched a 4 star movie, “Before Midnight.” Lots of dialog and hardly going anywhere, but EH was really nice to look at.
Dairy Queen, FitBit, Lose-It, and Bicycles. Yes, these three go together. Loved-One and I bicycled to Dairy Queen for a Peanut Buster Parfait. Thanks to my aps, I know the PBP was 700 calories. That’s okay because it was my dinner, and I burned 600 calories getting there and back. Plus, we had a great time finding some new bike paths.
Jenny, the editor at M-U Times. I have four articles to write this month. Yay!
Duckie, who kindly woke me up in time to get to 8:00 church service six hours after I got home from the 5K. Okay, yes, I am grateful even though I grumbled a little. I love starting the week with the people of this “Intentional Parish,” who know me and support me in my journey.
Sharing a favorite breakfast restaurant and new fare: key-lime pancakes for me and a steak skillet for Love-One.
Baseball and Good Luck: This week Wrestler #2 and his three kids invited us to Cougar game. The oldest grandchild, the baseball lover, caught a fly-ball. Lucky! The other two caught one of those squishy baseball looking things they send up with a slingshot. And the Cougars won in the final inning. Woot! Woot! (Plus, the weather was shirt-sleeve warm.)
Smart-phone video and connectivity. This week I saw my Beanie get doused with a bucket of ice-water by her son; part of an ALS challenge. Oh my, the anticipation on his face and the giggles made me laugh out loud. And, Wrestler #2 recorded his daughter releasing a fish into shallow water. She chucked it as hard as she could, followed by her father’s uncomfortable laugh, “That’s not how you do it.” She put her had on her hip, looked straight into the camera and said, “That’s how I do it.” Such intimate moments that I would probably never see if it weren’t for smart-phone video, texting and social media connectivity.
Haven’t had enough gratitude? Check out some some other people sharing their list.
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Doreen McGettigan offered to share her book with me in exchange for an interview. I came out on top with the bargain. Doreen is a thoroughly delightful person and I got a chance to make a new friend. You can come out on top, too because Doreen has agreed to gift two of you with a copy of her book, Bristol boyz Stomp: The Night that Divided a Town.
Doreen’s writing style exposes the raw emotion of losing someone to a violent, senseless crime. She reminds us that the loss is just the beginning. Survivors must endure the pain of living with the perpetrators and their families, and bear the excruciating crush of a slow, inadequate justice system.
Doreen harnessed her pain and frustration in the memoir of her brother’s death Bristol Boyz Stomp: The Night That Divided a Town.
If you’re of a certain generation, you might remember the Dovells and their song “Bristol Stomp.”
Doreen told me she knew the man who wrote the lyrics, way back when she was growing up. Bristol Boyz Stomp gives a menacing image to the lyrics. Doreen’s youngest brother, David,, was brutally stomped and bludgeoned with a hammer. He was on his way home from band practice to his wife and child.
All Doreen remembers wanting to do as a child, is to be a good mommie and to write books. She accomplished both and then some. In her words:
“I did everything most women do, just not in the order most do them.”
Doreen got married at sixteen, not because she “had to,” but because getting married got her away from problems. Her own mother gave Doreen an example of everything she wanted to avoid when she became a mother. Doreen’s 18 year-old military husband was her best friend. He was rescuing her. He was stationed in far away places, which was where she wanted to be.
Still, Doreen worried about her sister and brothers whom she left. One by one, she brought them to live with her. She ended up having three children of her own and raising her younger siblings. The youngest, David, was fourteen years younger than she.
After she was grown, married, divorced and on her own again, she moved her family to a homey neighborhood of Bristol, PA. That’s where she earned her GED, and her children and brothers graduated from high school.
David was murder in random road rage event. So many things made no sense to Doreen. She kept a journal through his death and the eventual arrests and trials. Her daughter reminded Doreen that she always wanted to write a book:
“You need to write this story. “
I say, you need to read this book. The choppy sentences, and meandering paragraphs capture the waves of emotions that ebbed and flowed for Doreen.
Doreen remarried eight years ago. Soon after, she began taking care of her new husband’s elderly mother. Doreen quit her job and took care of her mother-in-law.
“It may sound strange, but it is rewarding to work with people who are experiencing their last day.”
Doreen now works as a caregiver for elderly as a companion. She often picks up where hospice care cannot. Doreen also teaches part-time at a local community college: writing, publishing, and memoir writing.
Doreen has another memoir coming out the end of the year about the homeless woman she and her husband helped an 80-year-old homeless woman. Her book is the adventure of this homeless woman and how she became homeless.
If you’d like a copy of Bristol Boyz Stomp: The Night That Divided a Town, leave a comment below. I’ll enter your name in a drawing.
If you want to follow Doreen here’s a few places you can find her.
I love the little things; like Mondays and Gratitude reminders.
Friday morning I picked up five of the grandchildren (Beanie’s kids.) We had a mini-vacation, and a mini-work day. These five are soooooo good, and yet I found myself so tired after the three days we spent together.
Here’s what I thought about yesterday when the house got quiet again. (No particular order.)
LongAn empty nest. Well, yes, that was the first thing I thought about. Ahhh… the quiet and the slowness of it all. There’s a reason for the “pause” in menopause. Listening to silence. Yum.
Jenny. The editor at the monthly newspaperm where I write feature articles, sent me an e-mail with a new interview idea. I read it without my reading glasses and quickly sent a reply (amid the bustle of five children.) I’m so thankful Jenny has a sense of humor and a large dose of patience. Nuf said on that one.
“Stuff You Should Know,” and other podcasts. You would never believe how much I learn whiled I’m entertained on my four mile walks. I almost don’t want to stop. Almost.
Walks. Especially with someone. At least twice a week, I meet Duckie on her walk home from work. It makes for a good four-miler for both of us. A visit on a walk is so much different from sitting face-to-face, playing a game together, or watching a movie. The same thing happened with the little ones as we walked the mile back and forth from the lake. There’s something about the pace, and the shoulder-to-shoulder that makes for a uniquely intimate experience.
A Big Garage. Lots of room to store bikes and rakes and floaties and pails. Oh, and room to store Wrestler Number One’s long boards, which we used on the lake this weekend. Thank you Wrestler Number One.
Patience. Not mine. The patience of a child. They tried so hard to catch a fish with a fruit snack and a plastic cup. Almost. Almost. But not quite.
Little Helpers. My oh my, we got so much weeding and clipping, and lugging done. Besides that, they helped me drink up a gallon of milk, two bags of hamburger buns, all my bread, bunches of bananas, the remaining peanut butter, and half a peck of cherry tomatoes and a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
The Cubs Baseball Game. Just the right background noise to lull me to sleep in a kicked-back recliner.
Clean Laundry. After the nap and faced with all that quiet, laundry seemed almost meditative. Usually a Monday chore, Sunday evening saw it complete.
If you like my list, maybe you’d like to see some others. Join Laurel at Alphabet Salad for more Monday Gratitude. And please, let me know what’s on your gratitude list. Yours always reminds me of other things to add. Like this week, Laurel’s reminds me I’m thankful for new friends from volunteering and old friends that marveled at how much the kids grew, especially grandson #1 who was yay-high when they first met him and is now almost six feet tall.
I was right. Maybe it was that self-fulfilling prophesy thing. July was kicked back and comfortable: 4th of July, Camping, BlogHer… Not much to show for myself.
I’m kicking in for some real progress in August. I already have a full end-of-summer-one-last-bash kind of August on my calendar. Okay, somewhere in there I will finish editing my book. I promise.
My Progress on Game Plan 2014:
Get my novel published: I will get editors, a cover designer, and a publisher. I will. Progress: I’m tucked in for the hard work of editing, based on my beta-readers and Lisa Romero. I got some great advice from SheWrites co-founder, Kamy Wicoff, at BlogHer14. The same session had an author who published traditionally. He said it took two years for the book to actually get published. He almost forgot it was coming out. His lesson was keep writing, keep submitting shorts. To that end, a blogging friend is introducing me to someone at Huffington Post. I have two great posts in mybackpocket to write. But yet, I dally.I’m still investigating Chicago Writers Association those two writers conference on my radar. Okay, okay. I did nothing here but keep the rad up.
Knit or crochet yarn stash into hats for charity: I have a lot of yarn stash. Progress: Acht! No knitting during May or June or July. Maybe it’s to darned hot. Plus the outdoors, cookouts, swimming, biking, are calling me. And did I mention there’s a wedding at my house in September.
Make enough money writing to pay property taxes: Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in 2013. Progress: Three more newspaper articles for a local paper and a commitment for a website re-make. I’ve already put together a user-requirement questionnaire and am sharing it via Evernotes.
Expand my platform: a key to successful selling of a published book, I’m told. Progress: Still growing at a rate of 10 or more followers each week on BlogHer, SheWrites, Instagram, Twitter, FB page; Google+, Pinterest. My Klout score is up. I even got a perk. Thanks to tweeting out at BlogHer, I won a new WiiU. (That’s a gaming device byNinento, not some sort of blogging award.
Experience Night at the Museum with Two More Grandkids. Progress: Complete! Yay! Miss K and Mr. L. Mr. L plans to be a paleontologist when he grows up. Miss K has her heart set on fashion design. The two kids were congenial enough, but they never really talked to each other. Really interesting dynamics.
Travel Route 66 with Loved-One: I plan to get some sponsors and write about out trip. Progress: This goal is post-poned until spring or fall of 2015. Drat! But on the happy side, Wrestler One and his Loved-One will be married in September in my back-yard. What a wonderful goal replacement.
Volunteer: Last year I tried a women’s shelter. Maybe this year, the food pantry. Progress: Success with “1st Way Pregnancy.” Volunteering is going so-so. (This shelter mission is “To provide loving assistance, emotional and financial support for women and girls who find themselves in a crisis.” The values of “1st Way Pregnancy” match mine, that is: empower women to make life-affirming choices by offering financial and emotional support. Rather than shaming and coercing with rules and regulations.)
I’m learning a lot about myself. I really like to be in charge; or at least self-directed. It’s humbling to relinquish control, especially when I believe I have improvements to offer.
Read two book a month: This goal doubles my 2013 rate. Progress:
In July I read two books. I’m sure of it. But I can only remember one. Maybe my reading is too fast and furious.Louis Erdrich, The Round House I really liked this book a lot. The language is so precise, yet so descriptive. Erdrich wrote a novel that is also a lesson on Native American culture and a mystery. I normally don’t care so much for mystery, but this book is as much a coming of age story about a boy, as it is a mystery. Plus,Erdrich captures so well, boyhood friendships and the power of a loving family. Although crime is horrible, I found the family’s undying love quite uplifting.From past months: Kate Atkinson by Life After Live: A Novel by
Doreen M. McGettigan. Bristol boys Stomp: The Night That Divided a Town
Adela Crandell: A Land of Milk and Honey
Eric Larson: In the Garden of the Beast
Beth Nonte Russell: Forever Lily. Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana.
Michael Allan Scott: Flight of the Tarantula Hawk – A Lance Underphal Mystery.
Linda Lawrence Hunt: Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America.
Rachel Thompson: Broken Pieces (interviewed)
Guy Kawasaki: APE
Hilary Grossman: Dangled Caret (interviewed) Candice Millard: Destiny of the Republic.
Get new carpeting for the lower level: Ugh! I don’t even want to go down there, it looks so bad. Progress: Not yet. I got to thinking about the wedding, which is an outdoor party, hipster BBQ with games and a picnic. Maybe I’ll just rip the old capet up and leave a cement floor. That way we can put the food inside. I won’t be embarrassed about the old carpet and I won’t be worried about the new carpet. I’ll run that one by the bride and groom.
Send St. Patrick’s Day photo cards to friends and family:Progress:Complete. I got great feedback from my Welcome Spring card. Several people thought they just received an invitation to something; they weren’t sure what. They loved the pictures and the surprise out-of-the-blue greeting. I think I’ll do this again next year.
How are your plans for the year going? any obstacles, or are you right on track? I’d love to hear from you. What do you think about my carpet idea?
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It’s Monday and it’s time for a little Gratitude. Thanks, Laurel, from Alphabet Salad for keeping this link-up going. Some Monday’s it feels like a chore, others the gratitudes just overflow. Can you guess what kind of Monday this is?
Here’s my gratitude list in no particular order:
An exercise buddy. Sure you wimped out on me at the last-minute today, but I’m going to BodyPump without you.
FitBit buddies and Duckie. The days Duckie works, we meet half way. It’s about five miles. Still, I’m in sixth place with my walking buddies. You peeps inspire me to keep on stepping.
The ability to loaf when I want. I know things ahead of this one, sound like I’m not loafing, but… Today, I read part of a novel, played Candy Crush, tried out a new recipe, watched TV… You get the picture. Now, I’m finally writing a bit.
Wedding plans. The bride and groom came over with all their plans for the wedding in out back yard. They have everything under control. All I’m asked to do is make cupcakes. Yeah!
Nieces. Sabrina is planning a wedding shower with me for my nephew,Carla joined in. Oh, my! They have such good ideas. Yeah to the next generation.
The internet. So much interesting stuff. Good thing I can loaf-off when I want.
Texas nephews and my brother, their father. I got a text this week, “The boys want to know, ‘Why didn’t you tell us Aunt Adela was so cool?’” Who knew!
Dark chocolate. Need I explain this one?
See what’s on other bloggers Gratitude List by clicking the link below.
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