Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

This week was one of those long-short weeks. Wednesday felt like Thursday, but I also was concocting extra days between Thursday and Friday to try and pack it all in. Yes, one of those weeks. What joy, what bliss, to be at Friday night, with peace and quiet, screen door open, pups napping, husband beside me, all peaceful and well.

It is spring, there is no doubt about that. Well, there were some people on the East Coast who seemed to doubt it for a minute or two this week, I think. But, we had the whole gamut this week--rain, wind, rain, blue skies, clouds, the gorgeous smell of rain. This week I learned what that word is, the smell of rain: petrichor. Cool word, eh? It's one of my favorite smells, and makes me so grateful for spring, whenever I am outside after a rainfall and inhale, big. Deep breath.

With spring comes color, which is always a favorite of mine. I looked out our dining room window one morning, and saw orange fish in the pond, purple lilacs, pink on the flowering weeping almond tree, greens of every shade. That scene made me smile quite happily, gratefully. I am in a bit of denial that it's actually Easter this weekend--how did that happen already? Not having the nieces (and their parents) here for the Egg Hunt Extravaganza, I have opted to just ignore it. That and eating less sugar means, what? huh? candy? chocolate? whatevs. ;) (I'm saving it all up for May!)

I love the way the seasons work with flavor too. Here comes the asparagus, in all its local glory. The strawberries are blossoming, and while it feels a little far away, I am already pining for fresh produce from the garden. Basil, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes... now we just need to keep the nights above frost level for a bit!

I learned of a friend's cancer diagnosis this week, and have been thinking of her and her family and lifting them in prayer, many times over each day. I am tired of cancer touching the lives of people I care about. Tired especially for them, and wishing for healing, in many places, tonight. I am grateful for the love and support that I know my friends and family with illness have surrounding them. Very grateful indeed.

Tonight I'm also very grateful for the path of this past decade, where I am now, with the love and support in my life. I try to pause every day and reflect on it, really feel the gratitude and focus on keeping my eyes open and aware of what's going on. I believe it as much now as I did 10 years ago--when you have a major life transition, there's a wakefulness to it, a super-alert mode that only lasts if you focus on not letting the noise of the world lull you back asleep. No thanks. To me that equates to taking things for granted, and I work pretty hard to not do that.

I love that sentiment. I think I need it tattooed somewhere. Or, at the very least, close by so I can refer to it nightly. I think I will go sleep in peace now. I wish the same for you.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday night grateful list: Spring Break edition

Ha. I typed the words "Spring Break edition" and instantly had Girls Gone Wild images flash through my mind. Ha ha. Not even.

This week, following the festival that was Grandma's 95th birthday, Seth and I put husband on a plane home and trekked off over the mountains, down I-5 and had a few days of looking around colleges, educating ourselves on a few local-ish options. We both learned a lot, about the process of applying to colleges, about the various campuses themselves, and what environments felt more "Seth" than others. We have the advantage of having friends who either are or were in the college admissions game; their advice has been invaluable. And I know we'll be back for more, friends. Prepare yourselves.

I am so grateful to have had this week with Seth. He and I have road-tripped many, many times over the years, all over the place. We have listened to many audiobooks, sung many songs together at the top of our lungs, and eaten more than our fair share of completely unhealthful food too. I am grateful for Seth every day, but getting to spend multiple days together is always special. Even when we got on each other's nerves, or one or the other of us missed the right exit and we had to backtrack, we still had a really excellent adventure.
We had really great tour guides, for the most part--extroverted, engaged young men who were pretty passionate about their college experience. It was good to see. The bottom left photo is Seth telling me to stop taking pictures and stay with the group. As if. You'd think he'd know by now...

I managed to keep on top of work emails while I was away, by borrowing a Surface from work, instead of the usual laptop. I am a complete convert. Seems odd to sit and type away on a Surface, referring to my iPad while I do that--I was working on one of my nonprofit volunteer projects while I was away, and had documents I needed to read on one device, while recording notes in a spreadsheet on the other. I thought Bill Gates and Steve Jobs would appreciate my ambidextrous approach to technology, but mostly, I was just grateful to be able to get things done. I'm not sure I will actually give the Surface back, I like it that much. I think one of the reasons it works so well for me is my love of all things touch-screen. But transferring back to my laptop, it's hilarious how many times my hand reaches up to swipe something on the screen. Creature of habit...

We came home to a yard that is bursting with springtime energy. That is to say: green! I was thinking today while pulling weeds, why can't we pull them once and then they'll never come back?! I agree, it's a little early in the season to be thinking like that! Ha. Seth and I got a couple of beds cleared of the winter leaves that blow through, and picked up potting soil and a few plants to start the flower pots. I am always so grateful for spring, but for some reason, I am ever-so-much-more-so this year. Why is that? It wasn't a hard winter, here in Washington. If I were on the East Coast, it might be more understandable. But we had it pretty mild.

Look what I found: lettuce, reseeded from last year!

Listened to (and inflicted on Seth!) some great work-related podcasts while on the road, and now that it's yard season, I'll be cranking up the audiobooks too. Nothing makes yard time go by faster than listening and learning. Happy me! I'm so grateful for technology (well, other than that dang Heartbleed thing. Blech.).

The whole of the Pacific Northwest put on a glorious sunshine show for us. It was most pleasant. I got to have breakfast with Jen on the morning we were in Portland, which was lovely; it was especially lovely to walk together to breakfast without an umbrella!

When we were at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, walking down the hall in the English department, I saw a bunch of photos of various poets, and the tour guide said something, "blah blah blah, photos all taken by William Stafford blah blah blah." What? How did I not remember that William Stafford taught at L&C, years ago? 

I was first introduced to William Stafford as a poet in 1991, while I was in college, and I even got to hear him read that year, too. I have always appreciated and enjoyed his writing. He died in 1993 and I just read that he wrote the morning he died: "You don't have to / prove anything," my mother said. "Just be ready / for what God sends." Wow. That'll stick with me for a bit.

The bottom photo has Galway Kinnell in it, another poet I have appreciated.

I'm so grateful for poetry. Can't be said enough. :)

Tonight I'm especially grateful to be home, with husband and Seth, with the sliding doors open and the spring air so fragrant. I'm grateful that the weekend is ahead, and while I'm sure there will be work of both the work-work and yard variety, there will also be sleep, joyous sleep, and relaxation, maybe another brief road trip, some good food, laughter and love. Yeah for weekends.

Hope your weekend is "yeah" too.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

Tonight I am grateful to be in Canada, surrounded by family, celebrating the 95th birthday of my grandma tomorrow. I am grateful for safe travels, for lots of laughter, for car naps and for sunshine and blue skies along the way. I'm grateful for such a loving extended family, and for their laughter and hugs. I'm grateful for such a great kid, and the prospect of a road trip together next week. I'm grateful for a wonderful partner and spouse, one who is my biggest cheerleader and best friend. I'm grateful for sleep, which is arriving very soon, and for the joy of sleeping in. I'm grateful it's the weekend, and I'm so very grateful it is THIS weekend. That my grandmother is 95 is the best and biggest thing on my grateful list this week. She's amazing and lovely, and I am grateful for every day she's on this planet.

Hope your weekend is filled with gratefulness too.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday night grateful list

Tonight I went on a Rumi jag, and found some fabulous words that make my heart full and happy. And grateful.

That one about being irritated? Well, I just might need to get that little reminder as a tattoo, some days. :)

I hope you have a grateful weekend. I plan to spend mine by the fireplace, if this rain keeps up. Such a chill to the bone!

Wishes for warmth, and peace.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

Confession: this list, this tradition, this ritual... almost didn't happen tonight. But then I spoke my sacrilege out loud to husband and his sweet response was, "But you've worked so hard to never miss. Here, I'll help you. Do you want me to type?" So, so sweet. (And no, he's not typing.)

So here's our joint little grateful effort. A little him, a little me, a little list.

Spending the afternoon with the one you love. We took off from work early, had a lovely late lunch out, did some errands, and generally enjoyed the sunshine and running around together. Blessed.

We are both very grateful for springtime, and all the green and leafy things that are popping out. I'm a little sad that it got down to 28 degrees a couple of nights last week. I'm pretty sure that means no apricots. :(

For color, I am always grateful. I saw gobs of beautiful flowers at Lowes today and got all twitterpated about planting and gardening and blooming and such. Calm down, Sher.

We are well! All three of us! Woot. Last weekend was pretty draggy, especially for husband, so we're super grateful to be mended.

For family: for talks and reflection and the anticipation of time together. I am so looking forward to the first weekend in April. Hugs all around, family people! xo

Seth's home again for the week--we've had a lovely run of extra boy time and that makes both of our hearts very happy and grateful. (Seth's too, I am sure, but I am only typing for the two parentals at the moment. And with a teen, who really knows, right?!)

For the promise of a big, fat, lazy sleep-in tomorrow (this is all Sher as husband does not sleep in). If the phone rings or there's a text before 9 a.m., you're toast. Yes, even YOU.

Visiting girlfriends. I have TWO (count 'em, 2!) friends in town this weekend, visiting; completely unrelated visits, which is cool. That almost never happens, probably mostly because my friends who aren't in Walla Walla never come here. Ha. That's a veiled threat/dare to Jen and Corinne, mostly. Bring IT. But to the ones who are here: looking forward to seeing you!

Feeling fiesty, and sleepy, and that's a dangerous combination. (Just ask husband. He's now given up on the list, since I'm clickety-clacking over here.) Off to La-La-Land I go! Wishing you peace and joy and love. Always love.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday night grateful night: 3 sickos

It's been a long, rather sick week and I have hopes of writing a real blog post tomorrow. But I can't NOT pause and say hello, and feel grateful. Til tomorrow. Peace.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

Tonight I'm telling my week in photos, mostly...

We had a lovely time in Arizona with Ma and Pa. Sightseeing, good food, nature, sunshine, more good food, maybe a nap or two, and Mexican train dominoes. All essential to a little down time! (More pics in the Instgram feed to the right.)

For the first time in a long time I didn't watch the Oscars. Just didn't care about it enough to stop what we were doing, or prioritize watching. But truly, I didn't feel like I missed anything--you can see everything you'd want to see via clips online, etc. My favorite variation on the Ellen selfie thing involves a corgi (of course!). And my John Travoltafied name is Sebastian Crawzford. Awesome.

Ma and I reviewed Oscar dresses on my iPad, with our thumbs up and down. My very favorite dress is the one below. I'm not the biggest Zooey fan (but not a hater, either), but that dress has my name on it.

Leaving Arizona and coming home to spring-like temperatures here too, I got even more in the mood for color and sunshine and more color and green sprouty things coming out of the earth. More and more every day...

Inspiration came from Facebook... (I need that fabric in my life!)

 And Etsy... (I feel a crafty project coming on!)

From Instagram... (I love a good word-art combo!)

On Thursday night we got to watch the young gentleman of the household be inducted into the National Honor Society. That made our hearts very happy, for him. A great thing to be a part of for his last couple of years of high school, I know he'll be glad to have participated.

Peacefulness is very present in our home tonight. Quiet, except for some doggies making soft snoring noises. I'm so grateful for a jam-packed week with work and play and travel, sunshine and rain, love and laughter. Blessed and happy and tired and so so ready for the weekend.

Wishing for all the above for you, as well. Have a great weekend.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

We're in a phase (well, more precisely *I'm* in a phase) where the weeks fly by and the blog sits quiet. I make food--even shareable food, lately. I have thoughts, ideas, inspiration--some of them even worth sharing, maybe. But. Then. It doesn't happen. Life goes whirling by and I wish for more hours in the day...

The Friday habit, however, appears unbreakable. Famous last words, I know. It does seem, though, that when Friday night rolls around, wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, whatever the week has held, I'm able to pause, breathe, reflect, appreciate. And I'm grateful for that. For the habit and what it brings into my life.

This week was a wild one, with work-work and a heavy dose of volunteer work, and then leaving for a few days to visit my parents in warmth. It definitely felt like a giant zoom, whoosh, splat. Well, the splat might be a bit dramatic. We've landed in sunshine, with some peace and quiet and laughter and good food and (maybe) a bit of relaxation. Given that today held more activity than either husband or I have had in quite some time--those desk jobs, even with stand-up desks,  don't exactly provide much of a work out--we will hold out that relaxation will come tomorrow.

I'm grateful for my parents; first, that they're still on this planet, alive and healthy. I'm grateful for their spirit of adventure, for their shared aesthetic sense--not that they have the same one, but that aesthetics are important to them both, for their love for each other and their family, and for their willingness and ability to laugh!

We saw some really interesting natural beauty today (check out my Instagram feed, I'll keep posting there), lots of scrub brush and cacti and all kinds of prickly, wild things. There's definitely a beauty in the landscape around Tucson, but it's also a little ugly (to me). I'm a Pacific Northwest girl at heart, apparently. Give me forests and trees, oceans, rivers, fields and meadows... I definitely saw things today that made me stop and say, "cool, wow, different," but it all feels pretty foreign. Go figure. I am grateful for the diversity in this country, even if it pushes my comfort zone.

We have excellent house-sitting help while we're away, for which I am ever-so-grateful (I feel the need to post that for the robber-types that troll my blog, ha ha). The pups are well looked after, too. That eases my mind, even as a big winter storm is supposed to roll through. Husband said to me tonight (he knows me so well, sweet man), "I'm sorry we're going to miss snow." That made me laugh, as he said that completely for my benefit. I am the first to say that I need to see snow to really feel like I've had a winter, but now that we've had it, I've seen it, I've even skiied in it, I'm good. I was in heaven today, in shirt sleeves, wandering around in the sun, feeling my freckles pop out. (What insanity is it that still makes me believe that "just a little sun" is fine, no sunscreen for me, thanks? It's skin cancer insanity, that's what. But a little sun on my cheeks makes me happy!)

Technology always makes my grateful list, even if I don't always articulate it. Being able to connect from afar, to work or to loved ones (Seth!), makes all the difference in the world. Texts, Skype, whatever = yeah!

Tonight I will be grateful for sleep. Nothing like a bunch of activity to bring out the sleepiness in me! I'm grateful for a cozy spot to lay my head, and not too much on the agenda for tomorrow. I hope wherever you are tonight, it's cozy there too! (And not much on the agenda for tomorrow!)


Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

I am very happy to have arrived at Friday night again. As I very often say--I haven't been this happy to see Friday, since last Friday!

The week held a lot--a lot of work, a little fun (lunches and even a brief coffee with girlfriends), some relaxation (evenings with House of Cards, I'm done now so you can't spoil it for me) and helping with a volunteer luncheon that's happening next week. I am so looking forward to the next 24 hours of family chill time, I can't even tell you.

But first, let's dance.

I had an interesting conversation this week with a colleague/friend about religion. I came home and was reminded of this piece with Bono, talking about grace and karma. (From the book: Bono.)

Here's a tidbit (it's hard for me to not share the whole thing... do click over to the link above):

“It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma…

“You see, at the centre of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics – in physical laws – every action is met by an equal or opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it...

And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that 'As you reap, so will you sow' stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff...

“If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. All I do is get up on the Cross of the Ego; the bad hangover, the bad review. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my shit and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was he just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.”

For all I smile to myself about Bono (as in, wow does he take himself seriously), I really appreciate those words. Anytime I seem to get myself in trouble, I can usually look at the Cross of the Ego, and sure enough, there's me. :) I am very grateful for grace.

A weekend ritual for me is listening to NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. I am very grateful for people who will consume large quantities of pop culture so I don't have to. Well, more to the point, I'm glad they make recommendations, so I don't have to waste my time! These people are funny, and I love how I feel like I know them after listening for a couple/few years.

I am so ready for springtime cooking and springtime eating. I've over Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. So over. I'm ready for green little shoots in the garden, for salads picked minutes before being gobbled up, for flowers and sunshine and asparagus and salad onions, with the hope of a long summer FULL of gorgeous, local produce. I am ready! I made arugula pesto this week and ate it three nights in a row. Yes, three. It was *that* good.

Being tucked in here at home with all my men (which sounds a little weird until you consider that both the dogs are boys too--I'm surrounded!), the fire is on and I'm feeling cozy. I feel blessed to have a husband and a son who are so communicative. As we all caught up on our weeks tonight, my gratitude for them both made me smile and appreciate, so much, all that we share together.

I hope you are feeling tucked in and cozy too, and the weekend ahead brings joy.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday night grateful moment

Oh the joys of Valentine's Day falling on/near the weekend! What a lovely way to crash-land into some rest and relaxation.

A little fondue for two, followed by chocolate mousse and chatting by the fire. Really, what could be better?

Tonight, and every night, I am grateful for love. I'm grateful for second chances and I'm grateful for acceptance--being accepted and doing the accepting.

There's a quote on the wall in my Grandma's bedroom that I did up in calligraphy for her, sometime in college. While we might quibble about what is old love, I appreciate the sentiment. In many ways our love still feels new, and I'm grateful for that. But then a lot of days it seems like we've been together forever, so old love seems appropriate!

New love is silver, wait for the west
Old love is gold love, old love is best.

I love our old love, husband. I am grateful for you.