Monday, December 02, 2013

Thankful November, 17-30

Since the last installment, we had a difficult two weeks.  It started, as usual, with work and the horrible schedule where my husband works early mornings and weekends.  Add to that the chaos of birthday/Thanksgiving/Hanukkah all at once, and on top of that, all three of us were sick at the same time.

Then I got the crazy call that a friend  and former coworker was dying.

All that has made it extraordinarily hard to find things to be thankful for, but I've been trying.  Ultimately, the hardest part was finding the time to write the words down.  So here goes:

17.  I am thankful for modern technology.  I said before that I never, ever want to live without a washer and dryer.  Add dishwasher to that list.  I am so thankful to not have to do those chores by hand.  And the computer and cell phone? I can't even think about how much easier they make my life.

18.  I am thankful for pie.

19.  I am thankful for the Trader Joe's jarred cranberry sauce.  It was a definite upgrade over the canned variety.

20.  I am thankful for my nephews and niece.  I am looking forward to seeing all of them before too long.  This year, I am extra thankful that my daughter is an age where she will get to have fun playing with her cousins.  Many of my fondest childhood holiday memories involve times spent with my cousins; I can only hope that her memories are even better.

21.  I am thankful for vacation days spent with my family.

22.  I am thankful for going back to work after vacation -- because so much time off with a toddler hardly qualifies as such.

23.  I am thankful for my daughter's school. They take such good care of her there.  She really likes going, even on those days when she really doesn't want me to drop her off.

24.  I am thankful for the many years that my mother woke me up at the crack of dawn to do Black Friday holiday shopping.  It was exhausting, and at the time, I was your typical grumpy, frustrated, teenager -- but now, I am glad to have the memories of being her trusty sidekick.

25.  I am even more thankful for the internet -- and thus, the fact that I never have to subject myself to the Black Friday hordes again.

26.  I am thankful that most of my holiday shopping is already finished.

27.  I am thankful for the birthdays that have passed, the experiences they've left behind, and the person that they've made me.

28.  I am thankful for the birthdays yet to come.

29.  I am thankful for my dad.  He is crotchety; he is peculiar; he is anti-social. He is weird and strange, and occasionally funny, too. In some ways, he is a horrible parent and grandparent -- he is non-communicative and not very present or involved.  But in the ways that are important, like being there when you need him and helping however he can, he still always manages to be a very good dad.

30.  I am thankful for my husband.  Each and every day, even when it takes all we have just to get through the chaos that is work and baby, I am always thankful that he's the person I chose to take this journey with.  Everything is so much easier when the partner by your side is also your friend.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thankful November, 6-16

6.  I am thankful that my daughter has become a pretty good sleeper.  Life is much better when your kid goes to sleep most nights without much of a fuss and then generally sleeps through the night.  I do occasionally wish she woke up a bit later, but it seems like she's like her grandmother and great-grandfather (her namesake), and is a morning person.

7.  I am thankful for my job.  I am always busy and never seem to have enough time to get everything finished, but I really do like it most days.

8. I am thankful that, every night, when I come home from work, my daughter smiles, stops what she is doing, and runs up to me to give me the biggest, best hug in the world.  I don't even mind that most of the time, she inadvertently rubs boogers or food all over my work clothes.  The hug is that good.

9.  I am thankful for books.  They are, and always have been, my favorite things.  I do wish I had more time to read grownup books, though.  Around here lately, we're pretty much only reading children's books.  As a corollary, I am thankful that my daughter seems to have inherited my love for books.  Every night, we read a handful of books, but always end with the same two.  My husband and I know them by heart, and I think the baby does too.  She always laughs at one part where I yawn, pretending to be a very sleepy cow.

10.  I am thankful for the washer and dryer in my condo.  I hope to never live in a place with community machines again.

11.  I am thankful to be as old as I am and to still have a grandparent around.

12.  I am thankful for being able to have a cleaning service come every other week. I am also thankful that, for all those years that I didn't really need it, I kept it up.  Because, boy do we need it now.

13.  I am thankful that my daughter makes me laugh every day.

14.  I am thankful for Ikea.  This morning, I took a quick trip down there to buy my daughter's big holiday present -- an easel.  All of a sudden, out of nowhere, she really likes to color.  She sits on the floor, with her markers or crayons, and sings to herself while hard at work on her masterpieces. Obviously an easel is the next step.

15.  I am thankful that I get to take occasional weekend afternoon naps.

16.  Right now, this minute, I am thankful for the little bit of quiet time to myself.  Ordinarily, I'd be asleep, but I took a nap this afternoon, and as a result, am wide awake.  But a little quiet time after my husband and daughter are asleep is the only reason I can catch up on this list.  And read a little bit of a grown-up book.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Thankful November, number 5

Today, I am thankful for living in a country where I have the ability to vote, even if I dislike the current state of the two-party system and most of their candidates.

I am equally thankful for the fact that, as of tomorrow, there will be no more election ads on television, at least for a little while.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Thankful November, numbers 1-4

At this point, I've come to terms with the fact that I'll probably never finish writing a novel -- particularly over the span of a NaNoWriMo.  I am very keenly aware that, at the rate that I've been writing, I'm not even likely to complete a NaNoBloPoMo (or whatever it's called).  But I can find many, many things to be grateful about this month, and so I will make an effort to post them.  One for each day this month, just maybe not every day.  And, of course, I'm starting late.

It's November 4th, so here are four:

1.  This face.

The real Cookie Monster.

2. The fact that my husband didn't make fun of me when I told him that I generally prefer Van Halen with Sammy Hagar and not David Lee Roth.

3.  The caramel brulee latte at Starbucks.

4.  Trader Joe's milk chocolate salted caramel butter cookies.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Baseball shoes

Yesterday, we took a family trip to the ballpark. The husband, the kid, and I dressed up in our team colors and went to our first game together this season -- our first game together since last year's playoffs.

Mommy-Baby bonding.
I have a cut on my foot -- a blister from a pair of ballet flats that I wore to work last week -- so I tried to find a comfortable, supportive pair of shoes to walk around in, particularly since I was going to be carrying the baby in the Ergo all day. I settled on a pair of grey Pumas, old, but not too old. What that means is that I've owned them as long as I've lived in this condo, but I did not own them when I moved to DC from Florida. I'm certain that I have not had them for over 10 years, but I am also certain that they're more than 5 years old.

While we were on our way to the ballpark, I felt that there was something sticky on the bottom of my shoe. "Great," I thought. "Old gum."

We started walking, and the feeling went away. We walked around the stadium, fed the baby some gelato, and then, I went into the bathroom to wash my hands. For some reason, I looked down at my feet, and was astonished. My shoes were literally falling apart -- the sole had split into pieces and the padding was falling out in chunks. I was leaving a trail of sneaker bits behind me as I walked. It was worse than when I was living in London and the only pair of casual shoes I had with me were Chuck Taylors with the hole in the heel.

So, I did what any rational woman would do: I sent my husband to the gift shop to see if he could find me a solution. He came back with a pair of blue flip flops with red sequins. Team colors. Also: ostentatious and hideous. He also told me that they had black ballet flats, but that they cost $80.

I have the best, smartest husband. And now, I no longer have a pair of cute, grey Pumas, but I do have a pair of hideous, blue flip-flops with red sequins.
Nice shoes, right?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Five Years

I can't believe five years have passed since that day, that horrible, wretched day. But I'm having a hard time getting the words out this time. It feels like I've already said it, over and over again.

I still miss my mom, every single day. I look at my beautiful, amazing little daughter -- who has her grandmother's eyes -- and I am just so sorry that the two of them never got to meet each other. I hug the baby just a little bit tighter when I think about it. On the one hand, I want to shield her from such loss; on the other, I know that's not healthy for her or for me. I want her to be brave and strong, and you don't get that way if you're raised in a bubble.

And then I finally see that there's a silver lining, a small consolation prize from all of this crazy grief over the past five years: my mother's death made ME stronger. Maybe that's the last gift she gave me.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

New Year, Resolved.

Before my husband and I got married, we discussed our vows, and agreed that the foundation of our marriage is that we both promise to try to not be an asshole to the other. When we looked in each other's eyes on the beach while repeating back the minister's words, that is what we meant. We may have said a lot of words, but that was our only promise. It's a promise that we can both keep.

That brings me to New Years' resolutions. I hate them for that very reason: they are promises that are not likely to be kept. I've said so before. But every year, better judgment notwithstanding, there are always a few things that I promise myself that I am going to do better.

This year, there are three of them: (1) Be healthier; (2) Be better with money; and (3) Try not to accumulate things that I don't need.

There's some overlap. If we eat healthier, home-cooked meals, we are likely to save money. If I don't buy things we don't need, we will also save money. Still, all of this is a challenge.

My husband and I have been good over the past eight days. We've made healthy meals, gone out less frequently -- and ordered more salads when we have. I think I've eaten more vegetables in the past 8 days than in the past 8 months! And, other than a cute outfit for the baby (on clearance at Babies-R-Us!), a toy or two for her (now that she's almost 6 months, the toys are way better!), and some (clearance!) ornaments for our Pagan Winter Solstice Shrubbery, I haven't really bought anything that was not addressing some kind of immediate need.  I mean, maybe we didn't need quite so many boxes of oatmeal...but they were on sale and we will eat it, sooner rather than later.

I'm also going to try two different approaches to save a little bit extra cash. In one savings account, I am going to save $1 per day, for a total of $365 (duh!). In another, I am going to save $1 the first week, $2 the second week, $3 the third week...and so on, for a grand total of $1378. Not sure yet what I'm going to do with that $1743, but I hear that college will be very expensive in 2030. (Sigh.)

Wish me luck.