Thursday, November 30, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 30

What talent or skill do you have that you are grateful for? 

Although it doesn't get used often these days, I'm grateful for my artistic ability - drawing, painting, and crafting. Getting lost in a fun project and having the sense of artistic accomplishment is not only relaxing, but satisfying. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 29

What friend/family member are you grateful for today? 

I'm grateful for any friend and family member that makes me feel valued and loved.I'm grateful for the friends that listen to my concerns (sometimes all day long!), that work out with me, that go on crazy adventures with me... I'm grateful for the family that hugs me, loves me and supports me - how could I choose just one?! 




Tuesday, November 28, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 28

What small thing that happened today are you grateful for? 

Text messages. I am grateful for receiving simple, yet meaningful text messages today. All though they be a small thing, I've appreciated them all the same. 

Messages that range from a simple "I love you", a thank you acknowledgement, an invitation for fun, and even an "I'll keep you posted" are all ways that others have improved my mood and day today. Being loved is awesome, but feeling loved is no small thing and for text messages that prove it, I am grateful.    

Monday, November 27, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 27

What small thing that you use daily are you grateful for? 

As much as it pains me to say it, the "small thing" that I use daily that I'm most grateful for is my cellphone. It keeps me connected to loved ones, helps me plan my time, entertains me, educates me, can relax me, and keeps my gym habits on track - among other things.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 26

What form of expression are you most grateful for? 

Speaking! Or course, singing sounds better, but in general any type of verbal communication whether it be written or said, is an expression form I'm grateful for. Of course, this includes swearing, too. Sometimes the best feeling is just letting an expletive go once in a while! Damn it. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 25

What moment this week are you most grateful for? 

The moment I am most grateful for this week was sitting around the Thanksgiving table next to the ones I love. All the good tasting food didn't hurt either! 

Friday, November 24, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 24

What challenge are you grateful for? 

Ha! I laugh because there are just soooo many fun (yes, that's sarcasm) challenges I could chose to reference for this post! Most of the challenges that rush to mind are of negative experiences that I've fought to overcome, but when pushing those aside there is one current challenge that makes me smile. Being married.

Marriage isn't easy, but I don't believe it's crazy difficult or insurmountable either. I believe marriage is what you make of it and can only hope and pray I continue to make the most of it for the rest of my life. 

There are always going to be challenges as well as real and perceived inequalities like who takes out the trash more often? Why can't you pick up after yourself? Where'd you put my stuff? Stop hogging the covers! But those are all small potatoes in which, if you're smart, you'll rise above and not let them become "big potatoes". 

I am thankful and grateful that the "big potato" issues in life are so far, few and far between for me and the hubs. The fact is most of our challenges are comical. We laugh at ourselves (usually) and challenge each other physically, mentally and emotionally for the greater good of each other, and for our relationship. I am grateful for my marital challenges every day! 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 23

What tradition are you grateful for? 

I am grateful for the tradition of being able to be flexible and create new traditions as needed! If not for flexibility, life, especially around the holidays would be total chaos!  

I hope if you're reading this, that perhaps you don't have certain expectations of your upcoming holidays. Let them be what they will be, and enjoy them for what they are. They don't have to be Hallmark perfect. They don't have to be Martha Stewart amazing. All they have to be is yours! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 22

What story are you grateful for? 

I am most grateful for the story of my life! Too sappy to admit? But hey, it's the story I know best and surely the one that has most impacted me and those around me.

Not all the chapters have been great ones, but overall my story would be one hell of an adventure to read! I'm not published, and the accounting of my life isn't available in book stores, but it's been partly documented in my blogs and social media, but most importantly, in the memories I've built with others (aww!). 


What does your story say about you? Is it an adventure novel? A romance? A crazy thriller? Get out there and live in such a way that everyone is dying to share in and read your story! Enjoy!




Tuesday, November 21, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 21

What song are you most grateful for? 

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow", preferably sung by Judy Garland, is the song I'm most grateful for. Not only is it a song from my all-time favorite movie connected with great family memories, but it's a life anthem of sorts. I believe the melody of the song itself is simply beautiful and the sentiment behind the lyrics is an added bonus of feel-good feelings.

Aren't we all, on some level, looking for that happiness that seems just out of reach, or over the rainbow? To me, this song is not a sad anthem, but one of hope to reach your goals and to keep fighting to climb or cross that rainbow of dreams. Written in 1939, over 78 years ago, this song is still relevant and can be found in remixes, and movies galore.

Additionally, because this song has been reinvented by the likes of Israel Kamakawiwo╩╗ole, and more recently Kristen Chenoweth, I feel it stays young, if only at heart, and pertinent to current and future generations. So go ahead, take a listen to any rendition and dare to dream and tackle your rainbow!

~ Somewhere Over the Rainbow ~ 

Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh, why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow.
Why, oh, why can't I?

Monday, November 20, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 20

Who in your life are you grateful for? 

In effort to keep this short and sweet, I'm grateful for the people who love me! My husband, my family, my friends - they all make the trip around the sun worth it for me and I'm thankful and grateful for them every day!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 19

What touch are you grateful for? 

This may be the shortest gratitude post this month,  because it's easy for me (finally!). My favorite, and the touch I am most grateful for is, the hug. Hugs are awesome no matter who they come from! They are a full body reminder that you're loved, whether it be romantic or platonic, and are a great stress reliever. I can let my guard down during a hug, feel safe, loved, relieved, and ultimately happy! Hugs are awesome!   

Saturday, November 18, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 18

What piece of art are you grateful for? 

Ahh, I could get so philosophical with this question! What is art? Performance art? Music? A painting? A being? A thing?

As I majored in art and studied years of art history, I'd like to think myself pretty well versed in the masters of canvas creations but I don't know that I am in particularly grateful for any one piece. So let me expand my thought of what I believe art to be. 

The art that I am most grateful for is one that comes from nature. Every day's sunset, when you can see it, is an undocumented masterpiece. It reminds me that there are things bigger than me in the universe, to focus on the beautiful things, and gives me hope for the next day to come. 

Awe - doesn't that make you want to run outside and check out the next sunset?!




Friday, November 17, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 17

 What knowledge are you grateful for? 

All of it! I am grateful for knowing all that I know! General education, random facts that I've picked up along the way, history, anatomy, art, knowing that I am loved, ethology - the list could go on! I'm truly grateful for knowing every little piece of facts and truths that I know. I am most grateful however that my knowledge, when shared, helps with homework, helps improves households, helps improve an animal's life and relationship with it's owner, and at times can even improve a mood.

Knowledge really is power. What you do with what you know is up to you. Even if all you know is crappy stuff you still have a choice to react to that education and remove yourself from it, be better than it, and surely, not spread it. Never stop learning!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 16

What about your body are you grateful for? 

I am most grateful for my body's ability to workout and do all the things I ask it to do. I do not take my "youth" for granted as I know age or illness can steal away my mobility at any time. 

I appreciate that my body can far outwork my mind and can endure, as if on auto pilot at times, the workouts and exercises I ask of it. Running, rowing, burpees - you name it, my body pushes through it. I can't wait to get out this winter and ask even more of it with snowshoeing and hiking. Bring on the snow! (Did I just say that?)



   


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 15

What season are you grateful for? 

I used to think I was most grateful for Spring with all the new life budding and blooming, but the fact is Spring is cold and wet and pretty yucky around here.  I've learned over the past few years that I am most grateful for Summer. 

The warm, but all too short, Summer season allows for family vacations, bright cheery days, outdoor activities of all kinds and allows for socialization. Hibernation is officially over! Whether it be a weekend trip hiking or rafting, or a simple lunch outdoors under a brightly covered patio umbrella, people have no problem gathering when it's warm and sunny outside!

Although I am not a fan of overly hot days (anything above 85*), I will gladly take them without complaint as I know the days of fun, sun and social gatherings end all too soon. Warm weather and long days give way to cool Fall air far too quickly. The cold air and soggy weather makes people reluctant to leave the comforts of home for social get togethers, so for the season of Summer Socialization I am grateful! 




Tuesday, November 14, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 14

What sight are you grateful for today? 


The sight (and sound) I am most grateful for today was my exercise coach. After a rough weekend, and feeling like giving up, seeing and hearing my exercise coach acknowledge me by name was the most welcoming feeling. I am grateful for her acknowledgement and presence. It made all the difference in my attitude and workout. 




Monday, November 13, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 13

What abilities are you grateful for? 

This is the easiest question of the month so far! Hands down, I am more than grateful and most grateful for the patience I have learned to have over the years! In addition to patience, my ability to teach others and to understand that their learning differences may dictate changes to how I teach is a blessing. Of course I'm grateful for the ability to draw and be artistic, but in this day and age, my empathetic ability to understand others and have patience is what allows me to stay sane and helps keep others that way too! 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 12

What texture are you grateful for? 

The texture I am most grateful for is that of animals.  From the furry coat of past pets, the bristly hair of a cheetah, the coarse coat of ponies and goats, the rubbery skin of a dolphin, hard smooth turtle shells, fluffy chicken feathers - these are all types of animal textures (fur, fluff, skin and shells) that I've interacted with on some level that have helped shape my life in some way.

From dog training, to pony grooming, to chicken wrangling I've been able to interact with different species and help people have a  better understanding of the critters that surround them.And while working in an educational arena with animals and humans has it's own rewards, I must admit my all time favorite texture has probably been that of my own pets, specifically my cats. 

When pets aren't racking up your vet bills, or making irritating noises at all hours of the night or emitting disgusting smells, they're quite therapeutic and relaxing to be around. I'm grateful for the time I had with my pets and remember the calm purring, ear scratches and feeling of soft smooth fur beneath my fingertips. For their love, their time, and their fluffy teture (when it wasn't all over my pants and couch) I am forever grateful. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 11

What holiday are you grateful for? 


The holiday I'm most grateful for is Christmas. I'm sure it's cliche' to read, but to me Christmas is the most magical time of the year. The lights, the glistening snow, (most) people's good will towards one another and the hope of holiday blessings and good things to come in the new year is what I'm most grateful for during this time.

I still believe in the magic of Santa and the birth of Christ. I am grateful for the love that surrounds a holiday table. Sure, presents are nice, but growing traditions of picking out a Christmas tree and watching my family's faces light up as they un-stuff their stockings is part of the reason why I appreciate Christmas most. 

Christmas is a time of pure magic if you let it be. Believe in Santa even if you feel silly. Believe that people are good, even if the news stories say otherwise. Believe there is a greater good in the universe who wishes you nothing but the best. Believe in family traditions and love. Believe in hope. Believe in helping those less fortunate than you. Believe that your ability to volunteer or donate something as simple as time, a toy or coat is something magical you can do for someone else. Make Christmas something more than a meal around a table. Make it something magical to be grateful for like I am.

Friday, November 10, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 10

What taste are you grateful for today? 


Hot sauce! Okay, maybe avocado. Or, maybe the warm coffee I just had. If we're talking about all time favorite tastes, it'd be creme brulee and hot-dogs (but not together). 

Okay though, seriously, if I am to narrow this post down to just one taste that I am grateful for besides anything home cooked that I didn't have to cook it'd be breakfast tacos (see my day 4 post, I'm an eggaholic). I never tire of having the same breakfast every morning. A warm low carb tortilla, a slice of gooey cheese, one egg, one egg white and avocado slathered in sriracha sauce and salsa. Every ingredient blends together for the perfect breakfast wrap and I'm grateful for it's taste and ease to make!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 9

 What place are you most grateful for?

I appreciate being in the arms of my loved ones, the feeling of hugs and cuddling. I am grateful for a comfortable home, and of course enjoy a nice warm and cozy bed, but what place I am most grateful for is tough to answer. It's hard to discern places I like and are favorites to go to, versus where I feel truly grateful.

In reflecting, I would have to say the beach is the place I am most grateful for. I'm not picky, most any beach with sand will do. I've enjoyed yoga on numerous beaches, jogged along the water line on crisp mornings, and even snow-shoed on a beach (yes you read that correctly). I've snorkeled, boated and swam from the shores of many a tropical place too, but what I am most grateful for when at the beach is not so much the activity it provides versus the serenity. 

More than any other place I know, the beach's warmth, proximity to the calming and entrancing water, and usually a palm tree or two is my ideal place of sanctuary. I am grateful to have visited so many wonderful beaches, and truly it's the one place I yearn for most often. No matter what activity, or lack of activity is taking place, I am most happy and at peace on the beach. Being able to play in the water, dry off in the warmth of the sun's rays, read a book, sit under a palm tree (if you're lucky enough) all while listening to the waves crash - yep, that's the place of peace I'm most grateful for. 


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 8

What book are you most grateful for?

"The truth is, once you learn how to die you learn how to live". That's a quote from the book, "Tuesdays With Morrie" by Mitch Albom. The story of Morrie is famously quoted, was made into a Hallmark movie and has even toured the states in a theater production version. While I admit it may not be the most significantly profound book that I've ever read, it's one that sticks with me and one I'm grateful for.

"Tuesdays With Morrie" is a result of the weekly visits by Mitch Albom to his dying college professor. Each week Morrie imparts some awesome wisdom upon his student about life, relationships and dying. I won't spoil the book for you, but the lesson worth learning (if you haven't already) is that we're all dying - I mean, after all it is inevitable. And yes, death a sad thing, but  far worse is that most of us aren't truly living and enjoying the life we have in front of us.

I am grateful that this book serves as a reminder to go out and enjoy what we can, while we can. Love and do good, and be grateful.




Tuesday, November 7, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 7

What memory are you grateful for? 

How do you narrow down a life time of memories to write about just one that you are grateful for? As I close my eyes to find the perfect memory, a flood comes to mind. Mostly thoughts of my father push forward. 

I am so very grateful for him exposing me to so many different things like nature, photography, ballet, music, art, airplanes, history, cars, books, and cooking: all the things that make me the well-rounded person I am today (or so I'd like to think so). But if there's one memory that is most impressive, I'd say it was him being a chaperone on one of my grade-school field trips. We went to Lincoln Park Zoo and he was the only father that accompanied my class. Probably being seen as a strong role model, he got grouped with me (of course) and a few of the "trouble maker" boys in class. He allowed us to see what we wanted to see, go at our own pace and pretty much only spoke to tell us how much time we had left in order to keep us on schedule. 

I don't know how much of that exact day I remember, versus remembering the day through my dads eyes as he repeated the story many times over the years. He recounted the hot bus ride and watching Richard take off layer after layer of clothing (his mother obviously over dressed him for the day), or Ronnie's reaction of how badly the ape house smelled and how quickly we moved through it because of it. It was fun to listen to him recount the story as he seemed quite fond of it. 

What I do remember on my own about that day is eating our brown bag lunches at the picnic tables and watching him stand so we could sit. It was windy and I remember having to anchor our brown bags down so they wouldn't blow away. I remember him looking young and strong as he stood against the wind, allowing it to only blow his blue windbreaker jacket, but not him. 

My father wasn't very hands on or demonstrative in his emotions and I may never know how he got suckered into attending my field trip that day, but it's the memory I'm most grateful for.


Monday, November 6, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 6

 What in nature are you grateful for?

I appreciate nature on a daily basis. I stare at the skies and watch the clouds, the moon the stars. I enjoy cool fresh breezes and warm summer sun. I watch in awe as wild animals scurry about, I love trekking and exploring new terrain both on land and water, but what I'm most grateful for in nature?

What I'm most grateful in nature is the sound of birds singing and chirping in the mornings. While I don't always hear them, I always listen for them. There are days when the songs are silent and those mornings are notably less cherry for me than others. I love awaking to the sound of summer birds outside my window and enjoy their chatter in the cool spring and autumn mornings as well. I listen for their songs and calls as I walk towards my office building Monday through Friday, knowing nothing I will hear for the next 8 hours will sound as lovely. There's something peaceful and uplifting about the random song bird sonnet, and that's what in nature I am most grateful for. 


Sunday, November 5, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 5

What sound are you grateful for today? 

I could be sentimental and say that I'm grateful for the sound of the words "I love you" falling off my husband's tongue. I'm grateful for listening to my grandma-in-law (is that a "thing"?) share stories of her yesteryear that seems so rich in traditions and memories. But after the weekend I had, I am simply grateful for the lack of sound at this point! No bickering, no video game noise, no TV, no hustle and bustle - just peaceful quiet. Yep, that's it. 

Saturday, November 4, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 4

What food are you most grateful for? 

When reflecting on this question, the fact is I'm grateful for all food because without it, none of us would be here to read or write this post. I'm grateful for food that is shared with friends and family, and grateful for meals that I don't have to prepare or cook. But I guess if I was to be more specific, I'm most grateful for breakfast. Even more specific, omelettes or egg dishes. 

As a kid growing up I did not like nor eat typical breakfast foods. I hated eggs and cereals, and my mother was not a short-order cook so french toast or pancakes on a daily basis was out of the question. I ended up with bologna sandwiches, Doritos and Pepsi for breakfast most days (don't ask, I don't even know why this was allowed!) but it lead to other unhealthy eating habits none the less. 

Somewhere along the way, maybe when I turned 30,  I grew up and started eating "breakfast" for breakfast. I love the ease of breakfast meals and the endless combinations of eggs, veggies, cheeses, hot-sauces and salsas that make for an ever changing, never boring dish. I look forward to breakfast, and more often than I'd like to admit, I eat breakfast for dinner. A healthy egg-white omelette or breakfast tacos loaded with avocado is something I never tire of. The typical  over abundance of hot sauce and spice makes me drink a lot of water and stay hydrated, I'm not bogged down in a carb-coma, and I just feel set and ready for the day. 

In reflecting, I realize that I almost always eat breakfast alone but I've learned to, especially on weekends, relish the "me" time and relax and enjoy the quiet splendor of the meal I'm most grateful for. Yay breakfast!

Friday, November 3, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 3

What color are you grateful for? 

OK, some of these questions seem a bit "hokey" until I really start thinking more in depth and abstractly about them. Like, how can one appreciate or have their life changed by a color? Really? 

Well, I've got two colors - is that considered cheating? Oh well, it's my blog and I can post what I want - so there! 

First off, I'm grateful for the color purple. No, not the Whoopi Goldberg movie (although, I do think it's pretty awesome!) but the actual color purple. It brings to mind peaceful fields of lavender that I recently got to explore with my family, but also a specific day years ago when I met a new friend. Upon attending the first day of sign language class our teacher handed out card stock and markers so we could make ourselves name tags. I thought it somewhat juvenile, but followed instructions by immediately grabbing the purple marker to adorn my name tag. It seemed like only seconds went by before I heard a stern voice ask, "Who's hogging the purple marker?". It was then I met another person named Lynn, who's favorite color was also purple! The rest is history really, we're still friends all these years later and she has come to be a significant person/part of my life. Who knows what would have happened had I chosen a different color marker that day? I will always be grateful for the color purple.

I am also grateful for the color blue. Perhaps aqua blue the most. Aqua was one of my wedding colors and reminds me of such a fun day! Married in an aquarium full of aqua blue water, tropical fish and sharks, followed by thrill rides on top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, who wouldn't like blue? It's also the color (or reflected color) of water, where I've spent a lot of time with my significant other, family and friends boating, kayaking, snorkeling, tubing, and swimming. Besides the peaceful ocean (or lake) waves of blue and white crashing on top of themselves, a clear blue sky is another reason I am grateful for the color blue. Typically, a clear blue sky is a sign of great weather and an opportune time to make many great memories. Whether it be water, sky or wedding colors, I am grateful for the color blue - the things colored blue - and the memories and adventure they provide me. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 2

What technology are you grateful for? 

This one is tough for me, because I'm not sure there's one piece of technology that I'm 100% happy about, or that doesn't have negative side effects for me. I enjoy social media (mostly) in that it keeps me connected to people I love, yet I see it tear apart relationships due to jealousy. I appreciate the ease my cellphone provides for me to do almost anything; internet searches, email, contact people, provide directions (and the list goes on) but I also dislike how distracted it can keep me. 

When I think of the things I use (and take for granted) on a daily basis like my car, cellphone, computer, apps, electricity, etc I do appreciate it all, but when I truly dissect and inspect all of my technology options, my gratefulness comes down to Henry Ford and the automobile. 

My car allows me to go places I've never been, to help people out with rides and errands, it can keep me connected to people far better than social media by visiting others, and has even been a place of much needed naps on occasion. My car nicknamed, "Henry" (after it's inventor) allows me to "get away from it all" at times and lose myself in a long drive, explore new adventures, and when paired with an audio book it becomes a sanctuary of peace during traffic. For all these things, I am grateful. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

30 Days of Gratitude

I usually do some type of thankfulness social media posting during the month of November but wasn't quite sure what my plan was for this year. I stumbled across the chart to the left and thought this would be a fresh, fun and easy way to reflect on what I'm grateful for this month! 

Today's gratitude question is: What smell are you grateful for today?

While I love the smell of my husband's cologne, a bunch of different essential oils I own, and numerous candles I've recently purchased from Yankee Candle I'd have to say I'm most grateful for the smell of firewood being burned in our fireplace.

The campfire-like smell is amazing and the heat is oh so comforting. I curl up in front of the fireplace like a kitten in the sun. I'm grateful for the relaxation, and both the physical and emotional comfort provided by the fire's heat and smokey scented air. I am grateful that I am afforded the luxury of a fireplace as well as a home to enjoy it in, not just a house. The smell of burning wood brings more to mind as well like memories of bonfires, toasted s'mores, and camping trips. Burning firewood is the smell I'm most grateful for today, and probably always.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Charity

If the saying goes that "charity begins at home" then perhaps, in the most literal sense, companies and businesses should leave it there! Or at least let their employees do so. 

Not only does this time of year bring on the seasonal color change and pumpkin spice overload, but the dreaded annual giving campaign. Don't know what I'm talking about? Many companies have an annual charity donation drive wherein they request their employees to donate to the charity or organization of their choice. That sounds wonderful, doesn't it? These drives and campaigns are a great reminder for some to give back to their communities and for most, it drives camaraderie and feel-good emotions. Of course, let's not forget that the larger the donations and numbers of participants allow the company at hand to look great to the community for being charitable and having charitable employees. 

Despite the benefits of this organized event, I absolutely hate this campaign! Let me clarify. I hate the nagging emails that (although the drive is supposed to be anonymous) single out those who choose not to give via this drive. I hate the phone calls that speak to specific names asking why they haven't donated yet. Quite frankly, I find it nothing more than bullying. Every year at this time I can count on resentfully and reluctantly giving in and donating via this campaign to avoid or lessen the bullying tactics that comes with it. Yep. I resentfully donate so a company, a team, and the powers that be can look good to the outside world by having a certain percentage of their employees involved in this "charitable" event. The harassment and resentfulness that accompanies my donation takes any joy possible out of something that should be a positive experience.  

Let it be known, that I happily give throughout the year to numerous causes that are close to my heart. I support others in their fundraising endeavors and partake in organized events and fundraising of my own. I do not need nor do I want to give to charity just so a company can look good on some list of "Best Employers" or the Dow Jones. In this instance, the benefit of my donation does not emotionally outweigh the negatives! No one should be guilted into donating, and if a company is to be seen as a charitable organization than perhaps the focus on giving should be throughout the year and not at one focused time all in the name of self-notoriety. 


Thursday, October 12, 2017

DC

Looking forward to seeing this, this weekend...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Rainy Day

Paris Street; Rainy Day - Gustave Caillebotte

It's officially "wet pant leg season". While I think my 5'4" frame is pretty average, I am obviously short. Or have short legs. Or the pant industry is involved in a world wide conspiracy of making legs too long. It's probably that last one. I'm sure of it.  

It never fails, every rain fall the bottom of my pant legs get wet from dragging along the ground. I try to roll up my jeans or pants in a not-too-obvious cuff, but usually by the time I remember to do so, they're already wet and uncomfortable. I don't care to wear the oh-so-popular rubber boots as a preventative - they're just not my style. I'm pretty sure the solution to rainy days like this are for me to stay put. Yep. Remain dry and warm, with all the comforts of home, curled up on my couch, under a cozy blankie while watching a classic movie. 

Sounds good to me.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

You Gotta Hear This!

I love Audible! I seriously think finding this app, wherein you download and listen to audio-books via your device of choosing, has saved my life! Or, at least some of my sanity!

Listening to books in the car versus the obnoxious radio and commercials helps me feel productive. I don't get bored and end up with the temptation to look at my cell phone while driving and it's like having a "friend" to listen to while dealing with my daily commute!

I have most recently finished the novel "The Good Daughter", Cheryl Strayed's, "The Wild" and am currently listening to "The Zookeeper's Wife". Each book, so far, has made it exciting to get into the car versus dreading sitting in traffic. Now, I can't wait to sit down, buckle up and hear more of each author's stories. I'm not depressed listening to current affairs, and I feel like traffic jams aren't as frustrating as they used to be! I can't wait to download some more books - any recommendations?


Right now, I'm somehow intrigued with and have the story of Nikolai Tesla pending on my wish list...


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Before I Die

I recently went on a segway tour and while it was fun in its' own right, it was our tour guide that prompted me to write this post. Well, him and a huge sign...

As we talked about why we came on the tour (to experience something new and different) I mentioned that I had a habit (and even a blog at one time) of challenging myself to do "scary" activities. As someone with seemingly no balance, trust me, the idea of riding a segway successfully was quite scary!

When I mentioned by past blog, "Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You", our tour guide Matt asked, "why don't you start your blog again?". Yeah, I thought, why don't I? I miss blogging, but I just don't make/take the time for it these days. I still do the "crazy" adventures though, so what would be so hard about writing them down? I don't know. It wouldn't be hard. It would just take time, effort and commitment of course - all things that I don't seem to have at this point in my life. At least not on a daily basis.

Later in our tour we came upon a snack shop and stopped for a break. It was then that I saw the sign in the photo above. It was a common space chalkboard for passer-byers to write down the things they'd like to achieve before they die. Tasks included various items such as skydiving, impacting lives, and meeting famous people. It was then that I thought, I don't have to do things and write about them on a daily basis versus just enjoy life, achieve what I can when I can, and write about them. Duh. What a simple concept. So yeah, it's basically creating a bucket list and writing about it when I can.

So what is it that I want to do before I die? There are solid, measurable concepts and then some more fleeting. Sure I want to impact lives - but how can I measure that? Below is my "scary" list of things I thought I wanted to tackle in 2011. Most of the items have been marked off, while some are still outstanding, and some - I'm not even sure why I put on the list in the first place! (What was I thinking?). I've highlighted any un-achieved items in yellow, and out of those, bolded the things I'd like to still attempt going forward.


So, here's to new blogging subject matter and achieving the things I'd like to (hopefully and God willing) "Before I Die". Keep scrolling...


2011 - Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You
Get rid of old clothes

Use Keurig
Weigh myself
Write letters
Get new glasses
Make dentist appt
Conquer stairs
Get fitted for a bra
Bake cookies, properly
Try tiramisu
Deal with toilet tanks
Learn to handle crickets
Run for the Cheetah
Commit to one event per month
Say no
Complain
Wear long necklace
Eat dessert first
Tell a secret/write to PostSecret
Try new exercise class (Zumba Tone)
Post a photo wearing no make up
Say hi to 100 people
Introduce myself to a neighbor
Jog 5K
Rock/wall climb 
Finish something you thought impossible
Balloon ride
Draw and share
Enter a contest
Ask for a raise
Talk to a stranger
Shave Keesha
Travel alone
Eat alone
Flying lessons - a bit too expensive!
Horseback ride/lessons
Train to work - I moved and don't need to anymore!
Buy the sassy shoes
Try a new recipe
Wear shorts
Wear skirt/dress to work
Sing karaoke
Dance
Call instead of text
Theater/theater tour
Volunteer
Shop Whole Foods
Sears Skydeck
Take advice of a stranger
Go to the beach (in a swimsuit)
Go to bar alone
Motorcycle class - not very practical!
Learn to bartend

Take dance lessons
Stay in a haunted place
Hike a mountain
Attend a Present Moment Workshop - they closed so no change now!
Learn sign language
Car maintenance - let's trade this in for bike maintenance?
Raise $1000.00 for charity
Sell art on consignment
Ride mechanical bull

Ask for help
Throw a party, invite friends - ok, I've kinda done this but...
Swim with a dolphin
Trapeze - umm, just no. I have zero interest in flopping around a net!
Go a day without my phone 
Pole dancing lessons
Go to a psychic/get my fortune told
Parasail

Order the hottest/spiciest thing on the menu
Design my own jewelry
Spend an insane amount of money on one item - pretty sure my wedding counts!
Take a mud bath/spa treatment
Get a make over
Don't watch television for week
Do something imperfectly with comfort
Water park
Watch a scary movie
Find a new job - not sure I can/should due to needed flexibility!



2017 Before I Die
Share a secret and mail to Post Secret 
Hot air balloon ride
Enter a contest
Learn to bartend (take a mixology class)
Learn bicycle maintenance 
Sell art on consignment
Ride a mechanical bull
Throw a party
Get my fortune told
Parasail
Get a make over
Hike Picahco Peak, AZ
Attend Cubs Spring training
Tackle Hustle Up the Hancock (again)
Snowshoe (more)
Hike Starved Rock, IL
Kayak a glacier
Whale watch
Travel: Germany, Spain, Italy, Egypt, Switzerland, Alaska, NY, San Francisco
Complete the Bourbon Trail, KY
Finish the AFI's top 100 movies list
Make a difference

I'm sure this list will continue to grow, it always does! One thing leads to another and before you know it you're hiking a state park in Michigan in snow shoes, in -30* weather! Happy October and cheers to living and doing!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Massage

I had a deep tissue massage after work the other night and it was amaze-balls! I fell asleep through part of it but I'm assuming that part was just as amazing as the rest of it. I have a lot of chronic muscle tension issues that far exceed that results of poor posture or sitting at a desk all day so I'm always "tight" and feel tense. I constantly have to remind myself to relax and the worst part is, I get chronic tension headaches that can last for weeks at a time because of it. Chiropractic care and OTC drugs seem to have done little to impact this as of late, but thank heavens for deep tissue massages and my girl, Elizabeth! I seriously feel 10 years younger when I walk out of the spa. It's amazing. Can't wait til my next appointment!



What have you done for yourself lately?



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Make Good Choices

Last night I begrudgingly attended a fitness class at Orange Theory Fitness. My friend signed me up for it, probably knowing I'd never get the motivation to do so my self. She was right. I've been struggling with some poor health habits as of late and she took charge. I'm thankful for that. The class was fun, surely a challenge, and felt like an accomplishment to complete. It was a great mix of cardio and weights, just what I need. I left feeling refreshed (tired and sore, but somehow refreshed) and feeling like I could tackle the world.

The workout schedule that will work best for me, is probably Tuesday and Thursday nights. That's when I will have a gym buddy to help keep me accountable, and those days generally don't/shouldn't interfere with other on-going scheduled items. Except, for tomorrow. Of course. I'm currently signed up to volunteer (for the first time) with the local Park District, which is something I've been struggling to add to my schedule. Volunteerism that is. And sure enough, I now I find myself conflicted with competing priorities. Gym, or volunteer?

Ok, sure, there are other days that the gym is open. But I can tell you right now, the volunteer spot is getting the boot. I definitely feel guilty about cancelling but I also feel like I need to strike while the iron is hot and get myself on a solid workout schedule. Not sure about you, but motivation is a fleeting commodity in my world. So, that's that. I've just cancelled my volunteer spot in order to go to the gym. 


I'm sure a "normal" person would have kept their commitment, and went to the gym a different day. That seems pretty logical. But the fact is, I know what works for me, and this is it. So I'm putting my health first. In reviewing my calendar of "to-dos" and "want to dos" this brings up an entirely different, but related topic. There's simply not enough time and availability in my calendar to do all the things I want to do. 

As I cancelled this volunteer shift, I searched for a replacement opportunity. There are numerous upcoming events but none that fit my current schedule. At this point, I'll be lucky to volunteer by Christmas. (thinks to self, maybe I can be an elf? Ugh.) Sure, I keep myself busy with planned activities, but there are also a lot of responsibilities that preclude me from doing a lot of things I'd like to. And that, quite frankly, sucks. Yes, "adulting" sucks. Oh well. It's life.

Cheers to a good workout.
Cheers to putting myself first.
Cheers to figuring "it" all out someday!