Tag Archives: gratitude

The List of Awesome

During a recent library trip, I found blogger Neil Pasricha’s The Book of Awesome: Snow Days, Bakery Air, Finding Money in Your Pocket, and Other Simple, Brilliant Things. I was in the mood for some light reading to mix with my Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, so I picked it up. (I never got around to reading The Lord of The Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia when I was a kid. Don’t judge me.) I found myself nodding along, saying, “Oh yeah, I totally get that,” on just about every page.


In the spirit of that slice of life, I humbly submit my own List of Awesome Things.


  • Reading kids’ books as an adult, either revisiting old favorites or reading something you never got to.
  • Having a cat, dog, or kid sleeping on you. Even with claws, shed hair, and the possibility of ear-shattering howls, there’s nothing that rivals that absolute trust. Having both Medium Fry and Small Fry sleeping in my arms at only a few weeks old ranks among the happiest moments of my adult life. Both my cats like to sleep on me, and they tend to divide and conquer; Big Trouble stretches across my lap or down my legs, while Little Trouble perches on my chest.
  • Coming inside after being out in the cold. Whether you were working or playing, it feels good to shed the extra layers, curl up in a blanket, maybe drink something hot.
  • Hilarious Facebook updates. One of my closest friends is a military wife transplanted from the South and currently living in the upper reaches of the Midwest. Our mutual best friend and I have told her several times she needs to write a book, because her accounts of her Lego-stealing cat and her kindergarten-age daughter mishearing “pregnant” as “pagan” are too funny not to share with the English-literate world.
  • Watching Facebook friends who don’t know each other get into a conversation. It’s interesting to see how my cousins, my sorority sisters, my high school classmates, and my pastor all respond to the same post and to each other.
  • Being able to wear sneakers to work, instead of just for the commute to and from work.
  • Homemade macaroni and cheese. I think I was in college before I tried it, because my Mom a. is allergic to milk and cheese, and b. worked night shift and was more interested in actually eating a meal with her husband and kids than in making said meal Food Network material. Ergo, when we ate macaroni and cheese, it came from blue, black and white, or (rarely) red boxes.
  • The smell of pizza baking. Even if it’s really crummy, greasy pizza, it smells so good.
  • Popcorn popped on the stove.
  • Getting a recipe right after you’ve made it several times. I still remember the first time I made a really good peanut sauce for a stir-fry. I’d struggled with it for more than a year before I finally made it the right consistency and flavor.
  • Watching a cheesy B-movie with friends and doing your own “Mystery Science Theater 3000” commentary.
  • Inside jokes and pop culture references. Renaissance Guy once made his future wife and me crack up during church by saying, “I think he said, ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers,’ ” (from “Monty Python’s Life of Brian,” in case you were wondering) sotto voce, in a perfect Cockney accent, during The Sermon on the Mount. My parents’ parish priest must have thought we were completely nuts.
  • Listening to elderly people talk about old times. Bonus: listening to several elderly siblings, siblings-in-law, or friends share their memories of the same place, person, or event.
  • Finding your perfect karaoke song: you know all the lyrics, it’s in your vocal range, and you can actually sing it passably well.
  • Bread and cheese, preferably fresh, crusty bread and sharp cheese. If there’s butter involved, so much the better.
  • Big, sturdy umbrellas on a rainy day.
  • The conversations you have in the car on the way home or in the kitchen cleaning up.
  • Laughing till your face hurts.
  • Really cold water on a really hot day.



Neil blogs at 1000awesomethings.com. Check him out.


Leave a comment

Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Popular Culture, Writing


There are days when I wonder, “Why am I doing this? Why am I not in a ‘real’ job with benefits and a set schedule?”

By the way, I hate the phrase “real job.” If you work, you have a “real job.” Full stop. My definition of “work” includes paid work, raising children, caring for parents or other elderly or ill family, volunteering, attending school, or looking diligently for work.

But I digress.

Then, there are days when I get to watch a teenage boy with a severe developmental disability play the triangle and conduct an invisible orchestra while Ferrante and Teicher’s “The Little Drummer Boy” plays on the radio. Moments later, I see a teenage girl who rarely expresses emotion or interest in her surroundings smiling as she watches her classmate’s impromptu performance.

That’s when I think, “Ah, that’s why.”

I am so blessed.

Leave a comment

Filed under Caregiving, Life, the Universe and Everything, Teaching

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to post “In All Things Give Thanks,” as performed by Freddie Fender, but I can’t find it on YouTube or anywhere else, except for a Tex-Mex Christmas album I listen to every year. If anyone can find it, I’d be grateful.

1 Comment

Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything

Made my day.

This afternoon, I was at an elementary school substituting for a music teacher. I arrived shortly before recess, and as I was walking to the music room, a youngster in the hall turned around, looked up at me, and said, “You’re pretty.” That was really sweet, especially since today I wore makeup (which I rarely do) and took particular care in choosing my clothes. That little guy made my day.

Leave a comment

Filed under Teaching

Well, this is cool.

I’ve only been at this blogging thing for a bit longer than a month, and The Ranting Papizilla (one of my very first followers) nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger award. Thanks, ‘Zilla!

Rules of Participation:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

1. I’m first-generation American on my mother’s side.

2. I read an obscene number of books.

3. I changed my major three times in college.

4. I’m growing my hair out so I can donate it. I’ve done this once before and would like to do it again while my hair’s still mostly brown.

5. I’ll listen to just about anything. Classical, country, old-school rap and R&B, folk music, reggae, classic rock, alternative, you get the idea.

6. I’m working on a children’s book.

7. I have three living grandparents, all in their 90s and in remarkably good health.

Now for the hard part – nominating *only* 15 bloggers:

















Thanks for inspiring me, both to start blogging and to keep blogging.



Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Popular Culture, Writing

Thank you.

Thank you to all who have served or are currently serving in the military throughout the world.


In Flanders Fields – John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Leave a comment

Filed under In Memoriam, Life, the Universe and Everything, Service

Weekly Writing Challenge

I wish I were  . . .

I wish I were able to answer this question glibly and humorously.

Here’s the thing. I can’t really think of anything that I wish were different in my life.

I’d like to be thinner and healthier, but that’s something I can accomplish if I make exercise a priority and don’t indulge every Boston cream or cheese pizza craving.

Sometimes I’d like to live closer to my family of origin; other times, I appreciate the hour’s distance between us. I’m close enough to visit but far enough away to have my own life.

I’d like to be a published writer, but again, that’s a goal I can work toward.

I wouldn’t mind having the chance to do my undergraduate years again with the wisdom I have now, but in some ways, I’m also grateful for the path I took. I met interesting people and learned a great deal. I know now where my talents and interests lie. I’ve stopped making excuses and now either investigate ways to make something happen or admit that it’s not a priority.

I’d like a loving partner, but I also like my freedom. I had two long-term relationships and several short-term relationships before my last one, and more often than not, I felt restricted somehow. I censored opinions that didn’t agree with theirs, and I committed to things I didn’t particularly want to do. I know the latter is called “compromise” and it’s part of healthy relationships, but right now I enjoy being able to spend my time, money, and energy as I see fit. I also know I’m not quite ready for a relationship. The loss of Love of My Life So Far is still too raw, and I don’t want to hurt a man who’s excellent in his own way because he comes up short in my view. It’s not fair to that man.

So right now, I can’t think of anything that I wish were different. Maybe, “I wish I were a Powerball winner,” but that would require buying a ticket, and gambling bores me.

All told, I’m grateful for what I have and who I am.

If you also want to participate, you’ll find this week’s challenge here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/weekly-writing-challenge-i-wish-i-were


Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Writing

Good people

Love of My Life So Far introduced me to these guys. The song just seemed to fit my mood today. Between a great guest teaching assignment and a good conversation with my boss at my home care job, I’m feeling very positive.

Great Big Sea, “Good People”



Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Popular Culture