Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Excedrin Migraine- best medicine ever?

Unfortunately for me, I began suffering from migraines when I was in college. I get a few of them a year, and usually they are triggered by stress or exhaustion (or the tiniest amount of red wine- sad.) I feel really lucky that mine aren't as severe as they could be (I've only had to seek emergency care for one once), but they still aren't a picnic; for me, its the sensitivity to light and sound that are just killers. I can't do much but lay in my bed, completely immobile, just waiting for them to pass. I used to take Midrin, which made me a little nauseous and woozy, and when I went for a refill, a complete angel-disguised-as-doctor said, "I'll write you an Rx, but you should really try the Excedrin Migraine they've recently put out there. It's over the counter, cheap, and I'm hearing good things." I was skeptical (I mean, it's basically a combo of aspirin, Tylenol and caffeine- could that seriously handle my headaches?) but I figured it was better than paying for the Rx.

And OMG. ZOMG, even. That stuff is like a tiny piece of heaven, sent down to keep migraine sufferers alive when all they want is to die so the pain/light/noise/nausea will stop.

Yesterday I had a major migraine; it required 2 doses of Excedrin, but darn it, that Excedrin got me through the day and able to get through a 45 minute presentation that evening. Celebrations. I am so grateful to Excedrin Migraine. It has gotten me through many a rough time, and I will never be able to repay the makers for creating such a simple product. I love it. Love it like I would name my kid Excedrin Migraine if that wouldn't be the worst name ever. I hope I don't have to meet its acquaintance again anytime soon, but if I do, I look forward to knowing its got my back.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Chance at Another Tomorrow

Today would have been the birthday of someone I went to high school with, Kirby Dean. I knew of her more than I knew her (I think we might have had 3 or 4 conversations in all of high school, but she was a talented member of our dance team that practiced right next to the choir room where I spent a decent amount of time), but she always seemed to be a nice person and was always pleasant. She passed away a couple of years ago after an ATV accident, leaving behind a little girl. I hadn't talked to her since we graduated and found out she had passed away when her parents set up a memorial Facebook account for her, but she always serves as a reminder to me that nothing is guaranteed in life, including tomorrow. So on her birthday, I want to honor her a little bit by thanking her for reminding me and the many people that her life and death touched that we should live each day well and live it with love. It's such an obvious thing- you never know when your life will be over and so you should live it well. But it's such an easy thing to forget with all that we do each day. I'm in the midst of a huge project for class right now, the house is a mess, I have about 100 things going through my head- in the midst of these responsibilities, I forget how vitally important it is to kiss my husband, to snuggle my puppy, to be sure I'm keeping in touch with my friends and family. So I'm grateful for the frequent reminders that I should treasure each day and live it the best I can.

So today, I'm grateful that I woke up, that I've gotten to snuggle with a sleeping puppy, talk and laugh with and hug and kiss my husband, and that it's a beautiful day. Thanks, Kirby, for making me grateful. And happy birthday- I hope it's a good day of memories for your family.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Definite highlight of today was the semesterly occurrence of mommy duck and baby duckies swimming in the campus fountain. I LOVE THE DUCKIES.

I forgot to take a picture, but this adorable shot by Kristi Hines (from here) is just about what it looked like!      

Obviously we can all agree that baby animal are cute, and ducklings are no exception. But what made me grateful about the appearance of the duckies (who show up once a semester like clockwork) was that almost my whole office came outside together to go see. It was a great midday moment of just hanging out and appreciating the cuteness of baby animals and their mommies. (We think it was 2 mommies and their duckies on a playdate, but it could have been a duck lesbian couple and their babies who had their eggs artificially inseminated- I guess we'll never know.) So I'm grateful for the break and bonding time they provided amongst the people I work with. And I'm grateful I got to watch something that cute for a few minutes today. Love ya, duckies, see you this fall! =)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Caffeine: The Only Thing Keeping Me Functional

OK, quick recap if you aren't a regular (all, um, 1 of you)- I work full time and am still in transition to a new position, and I'm in grad school. I'm also married, and my husband and I are planning on buying a house this fall. I'm also terrible at sleeping, and I'm a hardcore procrastinator. This is important to know given today's topic.

That said, caffeine is my best friend (after the pup and E.) I'm so grateful for caffeine. I'm basically a Red Bull addict, although I recently went more than a month without having one; I crave it and I honestly feel like I function better when I have one (Hi, my name is K, and I have an addiction.) I also have discovered ways to drink coffee, even though I don't love it. And I'll drink tea. I have a feeling that if someone told me mud had caffeine in it, I'd be the first one scooping up some dirt. I don't know what I'll do when it's pregnancy time someday and I can't have caffeine- ugh, I can't even think of it, let's move on.

So today, I salute you, BFF Caffeine. I am so grateful for your existence- you get me moving in the morning, you keep me from falling asleep on a keyboard, you help me survive tedious presentations and lectures. If I didn't have you, I would probably be considered a constantly late, very rude and possibly narcoleptic person. Cheers to you and thank you for existing. For one more year of school, we are BFFs; I hope you're up for the ride.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Back to basics

Remember when you were a kid, and a friend would start to tell you a secret, and then they'd say, "Never mind"? And how it was the most annoying thing ever? I hated that. So I hope I'm not engaging in that activity when I ask that whoever glances upon this post takes just a second to pray for my immediate family and I don't elaborate on my request. Suffice to say that prayers/good feelings/sending love would be appreciated, and I'll talk about it when I have a better idea of what can be said and how I feel about saying it.

So on that note, these are some basic gratefuls. I'm grateful for my husband who loves me and comforts me. I'm grateful that I have my dog as a snugglebuddy (who I have learned is completely devoid of the desire to make her mommy feel better when she is sad, that heartless little minx). I'm grateful that I have a mind that is functional enough to slog through all the tasks grad school is painfully putting it through, that all three of us (E and me and the pup) have a safe place to sleep at night, and that my husband and I are both gainfully employed. I call these basic gratefuls, but they're actually pretty big- they give me the life I am so grateful I have, full of love and creature comforts and only high-class problems right now. So I'm grateful for them, and today, that is enough.

I'm also grateful that the Bloggess wrote this post today. I love her, and she made me laugh even when I was feeling much less than humorous. She's awesome like that, and you should check her out (those who are easily offended or small minded need not click.) I hope she doesn't mind me posting, but I figure if I'm having a bad day, someone else probably is, too, and talking about hamster jet lag and Viagra helps us with that. =)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

"love you"

My family is really affectionate. We are big on hugs, exhibitions of our love and pride in one another (cough cough we're the embarrassing people at my cousin's soccer tourneys cough) and we live to say, "I love you."

It used to really get on my nerves that every single day, my dad would ask me if he'd told me that day that he loved me. The answer was always yes, and it got on my nerves because it felt like it must be a daily ritual for him instead of a heartfelt sentiment. Of course he loved me; why did he have to make such a point of reminding me every day?

The answer is so obvious to me now, years later: he wanted me to know he loved me, and for me to never have a split second of doubt that I was loved and treasured by him. He wanted to be sure I had that certainty, and that certainty has helped me be a strong and opinionated person- I know that those who love me don't hold that love conditionally. I love my father for those constant "I love yous", and I love that my family is all so open about how much we love each other. None of us will ever have to feel horribly alone and unloved; we are told constantly how much we're cherished, and I'm so grateful that we feel that love for each other and express it freely.

This post was brought on by my cousin; he and my brother and his brother and their friend just left to go to a soccer game, and as they walked out, the 18 yr old young man that he has become yelled, "Love you!" that's a pretty great compliment from an 18 yr old. Love you, too, buddy. Love you and the rest of our family every day and always. :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's been a long day today, so it's time for a...

Random List of 9 Things I'm Grateful for Today:
1. My toenails are painted sparkly pale pink, one of my very favorite shades.
2. My long phone conversation today with my long distance cousin.
3. The fact that my feet are currently resting on a sleeping puppy.
4. Today some work stuff came to fruition when my new boss called the data I'd accumulated and my analysis "important." WIN.
5. I've gotten to spend extra time with my cousins and brother this week since they've been house-sitting in Houston.
6. Big Brother premiered tonight, and basically DOMINATED. So beyond excited about it.
7. I got to sip on my favorite wine tonight.
8. My husband made dinner, and it was YUMMY.
9. Today was my Monday since I've been off all week, and tomorrow is my Friday. =) Win.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I have a lot to talk about being grateful for after this last weekend, but one thing I'm grateful for always is love. And this particular weekend, I am VERY grateful that two of our friends who have been dating for quite some time have decided they want to make it legit- they're engaged, y'all!

We went to visit them this weekend for a surprise engagement party, and it was fantastic. They are such a great couple who have grown up together and made a really great relationship. They're both so funny and so honest all the time, and I could not be happier to call them my friends, and I can't wait to call them Mr. and Mrs.

Hurray for love! Hurray for relationships going the distance and people being committed to staying together, and hurray for them giving their friends the opportunity to celebrate with them. So very happy for them!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Niece #2

I talked about Niece #1 a couple of months ago, so it's only fair to gush over Niece #2 as well- today is her day.

Niece #2 is almost 13 months old, and she is probably the cutest baby I have ever seen. She is chubby (used to be chubbier before she started walking) and just has the sweetest, happiest disposition. She is such a joy to be around. Her older sister can be a little rough sometimes unintentionally, and Niece #2 takes everything in stride, and in the midst of a crying fit by another child she's with or any kind of mayhem, you'll find her sitting quietly, happily smiling away.

A few reasons I'm grateful for her:
1) She's a snugglebunny. She loves to hug and just melts into you when you hold her. And snuggling a chubby baby is about the best thing in the world.
2) She loves my dog, and my dog loves her. Gabby loves both nieces, but I think she has a special spot for Niece #2. When Niece #2 started walking, she discovered how fun it was to follow Gabby, and that sweet dog lets that little chunk of a baby just flop on her and toddle after her with unending patience. (Sidenote- I am SO GRATEFUL my dog is good with kids. She may not love other dogs, but she loves all kids, especially small defenseless ones- licking their feet is her favorite passtime.)
3) She's got a big heart already. She loves to snuggle with her "baby", and she is great at sharing. For being 13 months old, that's pretty impressive. She likes to make people smile, and I just know she is going to be a wonderful girl who is considerate and loving, and the world can always use more of those.
4) She's brave. She will try just about anything. Niece #1 is more brash and bold, but when it comes to new experiences (food, new situations, new physical challenges) she might balk. Niece #2 in brave in a quieter fashion. Example- she LOVES the slip'n'slide. She took to it right away, and wanted to prance all over it and splash and play in the water as soon as it was laid out and wet. I love her spirit- it's going to be so fun to watch her grow.

I love this little lady so much. My nieces make me a better person, and I am so grateful that they live nearby so I can see them often. Being an aunt is very important to me because I have such close relationships with my aunts; they really are like older sisters and second moms to me. I'm so incredibly grateful to my aunts for being such big parts of my life, and I hope I can be a good aunt to my little ladies and support them the way I have been supported. (I have a third niece I haven't talked about yet, and a new nephew- previews of posts to come, y'all.) So today, here's to Niece #2. Love you, my little chunkster- seeing you is always a highlight of my day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


OK, sidenote- I am grateful today that my performance review went well. I live in fear of not meeting expectations; if I'm being really honest, I live in fear of not exceeding expectations. (The older I get, the more I realize that I am Type A in my work personality, even though I'm not Type A anywhere else. Check with me in another 10 years- I'll probably have realized I'm basically a control freak with OCD.) But yes, super grateful performance review went well so I don't have to mull over constructive criticism 17,000 times over the next few days.

So the Big Grateful for today- I'm grateful for vacation days. Although I usually love summer at work because it means new student orientations once or twice a week, summer is stressful for those exact same reasons- it's a lot of exhausted time at work, with no time to catch up. Add in the transition to the new job and grad school, and a little part of my soul is dying and being replaced by a robo-me who is just functioning on auto-pilot for a few hours a day. But in this glorious, beautiful week and next week, I'm taking some time to get myself back together. I'm off tomorrow through next Wednesday- and I'm going to use it by going to play with my nieces tomorrow morning, going on a weekend trip to a destination I can't disclose right now (I'll explain later, I promise- telling it would ruin someone else's happy surprise, so can't do that!) and getting caught up on school. Getting caught up on school is the main mission, because at this point, getting caught up is much more appealing than sleeping late.

So aside from the obvious (who doesn't love a break from work), this vacation gives me a lot to be grateful for. I'm grateful that I have a job that allows me to take a vacation without being looked down upon or having to take a break from pay. I'm grateful that I've had good enough health and fortune and blessings to stay well and not lose my vacation days to illness or sick time of loved ones. I'm grateful that I've preserved friendships over time that allow me to share in their happy moments (secrets, I know- I'll share eventually!). And I'm grateful that part of this vacation time is going to be spent with my brother, cousins, and my cousin's best friends; they're 19, 18, 18 and 14, so it's truly precious time spent with them and continuing to stay close with them while they grow up. I can't wait to go skydiving with them on Monday- Happy Independence Day, let's jump out of a plane!!!

So in short, I'm grateful and highly excited for my vacation time. And additionally, I'm highly grateful to my friend Ashley for writing a really, really wonderful and touching post about our high school experience and why she believes in public school for her children- I'm right there with her, and couldn't agree more about the school plans she and her lovely husband Luke have for their two beautiful babies or about what truly fabulous high school friends we had and continue to have. We were lucky for sure- and for that, we are BOTH truly grateful. =)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Another Step to Equality

I saved this post for late because I wasn't sure I'd get to do it. I'm a little teary-eyed that it actually happened.

Today I am grateful that the Senate of New York made the decision to legalize gay marriage. I'm grateful that we as people are making steps to treat each other with respect and integrity regardless of our personal differences, and as an ally of the LGBTQ community and as a person who was fortunate to be granted the right of marriage without a struggle, I am so very happy for all the gay and lesbian couples of NY who have been waiting for this day to make their relationships legitimate in the eyes of their state. Congrats from Texas, y'all, and much love and happiness and summer weddings full of joy to you. In the words of Elizabeth Taylor, "long live love."

The incomparable Elizabeth Taylor at the 11th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2000; 
one of my favorite speeches of all time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Alone Time

This whole "you have no husband for 9 days" thing is a MF. Sorry to be profane-ish, but seriously, this is hard stuff. I can't imagine how people do grad school, work and have a dog without a partner. The people who manage to keep their living space clean AND do this deserve a medal and probably extra vacation days. And on top of that, you miss them! And now I remember why I am happier now than I was in my late teens/early twenties.

One thing I will say about this week: It has made me really grateful for a lot of things. It's made me grateful for my amazing husband (I know I did that post a few days ago, but can I add in that he has dinner ready when I come home from school most nights, that he happily takes turns with me on dog-walking responsibilities, always buys me my favorite stuff at the grocery store without me asking, and he snuggles me when I hop in bed and then lets me cuddle up against him all night? I told you, he's totally amazing, I am highly lucky.) It's made me grateful to have my pup to come home to and keep me company all night. It's made me grateful for how willing and eager my family is to pitch in and help me when I'm stuck (ie, I work from 8-5 and on Tuesdays have class from 5:30 to 8:30, and the pup clearly cannot be kenneled from 7:40 am-9:00 pm- enter my aunt and uncle, the perfect pet-sitters.) It's made me grateful for having a job with consistent, standard hours, where I can easily plan out my life outside of work. The alone time ends on Sunday, but it's made me grateful for having a few days to remember to be grateful for everything I have and how lovely my mundane day-to-day really is.

And I can't wait to get back to it. =)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pretty Pretty Purple

Today I'm grateful I bought a small bunch of these, just to make myself happy.

From here

Gotta love the little things. =)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Husby

So I'm a singleton for a week- E left yesterday for a 9 day trip to Colorado. And I am realizing here on Day 2 how much I take him for granted.

E is kind of the best thing ever. In no particular order, just a few of the reasons why he is awesome:
1) He encourages me to take all the time I need to study and never complains about my absence or meltdown moments. The only time he gets upset is watching me get really upset, because he can't fix it.
2) He shares equal time with me on our dog and kitchen responsibilities; honestly, he probably cooks more than I do. Neither of us are good housekeepers, but we're working on it- and I'm so fortunate I have a husband who is willing and fully expects to share responsibilities.
3) He always takes out the trash. As I type this, there is a  bag waiting for me to take downstairs, and I'm not thrilled about it.
4) His heart is amazing. He has embraced my family as his own, and he treats both sides of our family so well. (And our dog, duh- he's an awesome puppy parent.)
5) For some reason that I can't possibly understand, he puts up with me and all my faults, and loves me regardless. He is fully accepting of all the issues I have, my tendency to stress out more than is ever necessary, my impatience when things don't fall into place the way I've planned- he just gives me hugs and kisses and holds me and tells me everything is going to be fine. And so far, he hasn't been wrong. I can't think of a better balance for me.

I could talk about him for ages, and list all the reasons why he's fantastic (like how he has great hair, is hysterically funny, believes in himself without ever being even remotely conceited or cocky, is one of the smartest people I've ever met, can do an incredible Steven Tyler imitation) but I don't think there's enough time in the world for that. I just know (and know it even more when I don't get to have him around) that my husband is the best husband I could ever have chosen, and I'm so grateful that he chose me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mom Talk

Can I just be thankful for the beauty that is Ryan Reynolds? Is that allowed? I'm pretty positive it should be, if it isn't. I just watched his segment on Conan, and I'm even more smitten with him than ever. Oh, Berg from "2 Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" how weird it is to see you all man of the moment- but I love it.

OK, for real now. Today's grateful: the very reaffirming conversation I had with my mother about something I was struggling with at work. My mom and I have had our rocky parts of our relationship, and I think we're just now getting to a spot where we actually understand one another. And today, she completely got where I was coming from, made my analogy of what I was feeling even better, and affirmed why the current ongoings in my life are the right ones. That's pretty flipping awesome. And then we discussed paint colors until my dog got charged by an angry puggle and she tried to eat it. So basically, today I'm grateful for the drastic improvement in my mother and I's relationship, from not being able to talk for more than 5 minutes without one of us getting angry at the other to feeling like she is on my side. Love it, love her.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Don't Stop Believing?

So I'm not an especially religious person. I wasn't really raised in a religious environment, excluding the 2 years I went to church from age 9-11, and I can't tell you much but the bare bones of Christianity. I've gone through a lot in terms of figuring out where I stand on religion- for me, I cannot stand the idea of being a hypocrite, and that's meant (for me) that I haven't been able to fully claim myself as religious because I can't find a religion that accurately portrays what I believe. At best, I feel I'm best described as agnostic. But I have to admit, something is shifting in me lately.

I started this blog in an effort to stay grateful and get better at recognizing the small things I should be thankful for in daily life. In recognizing what I'm grateful for, though, I'm seeing patterns and occurrences that I can't call coincidences-I feel like sometimes, things are happening (and have happened) because they're what I need to happen at that moment. I don't mean I'm getting some lovely free-pass in life where everything I want is being laid out in front of me, but instead, I'm learning lessons and being taught so much right now. And all the right people and events are lining up in my life to prepare me for the events that are on the horizon.

I don't even know if this makes sense, and it might sound silly. But lately, as I see how decisions I made for no reason but gut feeling are now becoming relevant and showing themselves as the right choices, and how I can pull from prior experiences to get through the obstacles I'm coming up against, I have to consider with more thoughtfulness than I have in the past that maybe I am being watched over. I still don't believe God will make all things possible, and I don't believe that God will always open a window when He closes a door- you have to work for these things, God won't just hand everything to you. But I'm starting to believe that maybe the thing I've called fate all along might actually be God, working through us and gently guiding us internally to make the best choice for us. Or maybe not, I could easily be wrong. But the fact that there is now a maybe- that I can actually see the possibility and believe it could be true- that's a pretty beautiful thing to have occur, and I'm grateful to be experiencing it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Jacked Up yet Functional Ankles

When I was a little kid, I was a gymnast. I started gymnastics when I was about 5, and I completely loved it. I'm still hard pressed to find something more fun than having the power within yourself to twist and rotate and contort your body all around and make it do whatever acrobatics you wish for it to do. Floor was my favorite, because I loved flipping upside down and bouncing myself all over the place. Second favorite was beam, because I liked the height and the challenge, then vault for the fun of bouncing off the springboard, then bars. (Bars were kind of scary- I never mastered whipping myself through the air quite right, I was a little bit scared on bars.) I was only a gymnast for 5 years or so, though, because I was diagnosed with developing early onset arthritis.

My grandmother had severe osteoarthritis, and my parents were understandably freaked out by my doctor's diagnosis. At that point, I'd already sprained/strained my wrists several times (I told you, I loved floor, and that doesn't come without a price) but the biggest problem was my ankles. Between the two ankles, I must have had over a dozen sprains/strains- I'd grown out of ankle braces, learned how to wrap my own ankle like a champ by age 8 or 9, and even had a couple of really weird but effective electric treatments on my ankle to repair an injured tendon. But I loved my gymnastics. It wasn't until I hurt myself twice in a row in quick succession and lost faith in my coaches (because one of them dropped me and almost split my head open) that I was ready to quit, and I was required by my dad to finish out the season (because in our family, we finish what we start, period.) And when I left, to be honest, I missed it. I wound up coaching later, and that gave me the opportunity to relearn some tricks and play around, but I noticed the difference in my ankles even when I did something simple like a roundoff or easy dismount from the lower bars. And holy cow, did those ankles hurt at the ripe old age of 18.

And they still hurt. They just sometimes give out on me for a minute or two when I'm working out on or a run, or even just jogging after my niece and playing. This post was prompted because my running up and down stairs multiple times today (in sneakers) has prompted my ankle to have a couple of veins show up in garish blue and green, and be warm and sore to the touch. But the thing is, I don't regret it. I love what I used to be able to do and that I had the chance to do it, and I am so grateful that even with this recurring injury that just will not go away, I have functional ankles that allow me to walk almost every single day and carry me through life (for now). Have I done permanent damage? Well, maybe a little here and there. But it was totally worth it for the feeling of soaring around and feeling the power of my body, and I love these old beat up ankles for taking me on my daily journeys.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hook 'em in Omaha!

Final note- I'm THRILLED that UT is getting to go to Omaha for the 34th time for the College World Series. Hook 'em, UT Baseball! Let's bring the trophy home for the third time in 10 years.

Texas Fight, boys! (Picture from here)

Sleepy McSleepsalot

Today I woke up at 8:15, walked our dog, and went back to sleep. Then I woke up at 11-something, and went back to sleep. I woke up again at just before 1, and since then, I have taken 2 more naps. What I'm taking away from this is that I'm grateful that:
  • my husband is amazing and lets me sleep without complaining, and makes sure the dog doesn't wake me up
  • I have the time to sleep so I don't feel tomorrow like I was run over by a truck
  • the reason I'm tired is because I'm spending my time being busy with stuff I enjoy, like my job, my family, my pup, my friends, etc. Not a bad thing to be tired from. (Ugh, what a grammatical mess that was.)
That's about all I've got, because I have to finish a paper and I'm struggling to stay awake a bit.  But I'm grateful for the very small yet oh so large luxury of sleep today, and I hope you get some good rest into the end of your weekend and this next week.

An approximation of what I look like when sleeping- except I'm not furry, don't sleep in a dog bed, and I'm honestly not as cute as she is.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Frogs and Freshmen

Today had a lot of random moments of complete and total gratefulness and happiness, but there are two that stand out.

The first is when I was in the middle of a presentation to incoming students, and I was pitching them a new program that I really, really believe in and I'm passionate about, and I'm simultaneously terrified that I won't get the interest I need and it will get axed. So when I pitch it, I basically pour my heart out about how I was in a similar program as an incoming college freshmen and the ways in which it helped me (Freshmen Interest Groups (FIGs) if you're interested- they're kind of phenomenal). I wasn't feeling well this morning, so I was really trying to pull out anything I could, and wound up just sitting on a desk and talking to them for a couple of minutes about it. And at the end, I asked who might be interested in joining the groups so I could give them information handouts. Out of the 90 or so students- about 45-50 raised their hands!!!! And I doubled the actual number that signed up from last week. HUGE HUGE MOMENT, people. I am so incredibly grateful that I have found a field that I love and care about, and that I get true happiness from my work successes. I'm so grateful I've found something that isn't just a job.

The second random moment is just goofy. My dog discovered frogs tonight. I personally love frogs. I think they're just funny, with their little eyes and their squat little bodies and their deceptively powerful legs. They just make me smile. And tonight, my dog discovered frogs when she nudged one with her nose and it jumped about a foot. She must have nudged it and its buddy frog 3 or 4 times before she went nuts trying to play with it as though it were a puppy or something. She's a goof, love her. I'm grateful that I got to have that fun silly moment in my evening, and I'm glad that we had it because we were having a walk that was just for her, where she got to decide where she wanted to go and at what pace. So she's happy, I'm happy, everyone's happy (except maybe the nudged frogs, but they'll get over it.)

Sidenote: If you're a dog owner, take a minute to watch Michael Vartan's new PETA PSA. It's a really great reminder about how important our actions are in our pup's lives. And hey, it's Michael Vartan. Why wouldn't you want to watch him be beautiful for 30 seconds? (And when did he get forearm tattoos? Why does that make him even hotter??? This man should be illegal, he's that beautiful.) Anyway, being a good puppy parent is important- thanks for reminding us of their perspective, Michael. =)

(video linked from YouTube, property of PETA; also available on

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

High Class Problems

My friend emailed me the other day, and we were catching up. She owned a house before she married her husband, who also already owned a house, so now, they're selling the extra house. It's not exactly a seller's market right now (I don't know if you've heard, but the real estate market and the economy are a bit of a disaster presently- just consider me your up to date news source), so I asked how the house selling was going and if they'd had showings. When she responded, her answer was thought provoking: it wasn't going great, but she was trying not to complain, because having an extra house that you can afford to keep on the market is a high class problem (as her brother would say).

What a great concept. He's so right. It is a high class problem. Happily, my friend and her husband can afford the fees associated with keeping the house on the market, and they have another beautiful, comfortable, safe home to stay in. Is it inconvenient? Yes. But it's not a real problem. It's like my grad school stuff. Womp womp, I have no free time because I'm studying. I'm studying because I have the opportunity to further my education for 1/2 the average cost and be one of the 7-10% of Americans with a master's degree. High class problem.

I'm so grateful that most of my problems are high class problems. I don't have problems that involve feeding my family, having a place to sleep at night, staying in good health, or living with a physical or mental disorder that affects my daily ability to navigate the world. I'm truly so damn lucky. So many of us are. And so many of us that aren't are the ones who complain the very least. Let that boggle your mind for a second.

So- I'm grateful that I have been blessed with high class problems. Thank you, baby Jesus, amen.


People. I fall off the place of the planet, I come back, and I somehow have more hits even though I haven't posted in forever? Y'all are crazy. I love the blog world.

I'm sorry I have been on hiatus. Stuff has been a little crazy. First, we went to Austin for our 2nd anniversary- this was the beginning of my downward spiral, because I couldn't post from my phone. So, farewell, 3 days of posting. THEN, I came back and started class. Hello, explosion of me having way too much reading to do and staying up super late in order to blog because I was already staying up to read my 8000 articles. And then, I had to go out of town again for a cousin's graduation (from my highschool, which was sort of fun.) So, that's what I've been up to.

And without further adieu, we move on to being grateful again. Lo siento for the break, I'll try to improve.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 20: They Are Still Here

This is purposefully vague, and I'm not going to elaborate for the sake of maintaining anonymity- it's not my story to share. But today, I'm really, really, really grateful that the person I love and care about who tried to kill themselves yesterday wasn't successful. Really, really, can't use the word really enough, grateful. And I'm hopeful that they accept the help they need that is being offered to them, and I hope they can find their way out of the hopelessness and sadness they are dealing with, and I hope against all hope that this is their rock bottom and everything starts to change for the better for them from here on out. And I love them. And that's all for today. It's amazing how such a sobering event can put things in perspective so quickly.

If you're so inclined, you could send up/out a prayer/good thought for them. God and the universe know who they are, so I'm sure they'll get them even if you can't use a name. I'm pretty positive they and their family would be grateful for any and all blessings and good wishes they can get right now.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 19: New Recipe Day!

Today I am grateful that I was able to find a new recipe on the spur of the moment and cook chicken in a new way. I love new recipes. It's so fun to put together common ingredients in a new way and have a whole different taste experience. There's also something really soothing to be about prepping for cooking- I love chopping, slicing, I even like trimming meat. (However, I learned last night that I do not like removing skin from meat. Not fun.) I like being able to create something. I can't wait until we have a bigger kitchen (we're hoping to buy a house before the end of the year) and I can really get to work in the kitchen. In the same vein, I'm grateful that I've learned to get past my fears of cooking thanks to my very patient and supportive husband who makes the excellent point that the absolute worst case scenario is that the food isn't edible and we go get takeout. For the record, this hasn't happened yet. So yes- today I am grateful for getting over the fear of cooking, for discovering I actually enjoy cooking, and for the opportunity this evening to get to try a new recipe.

I'm having trouble writing tonight- that might have something to do with the fact that I waited to write til 1 am. So here is a short list of other random small things I'm grateful for.
1) Mark Paul "Zack Morris" Gosselaar being back on TV. Yes. Nice to see you, brunette Zack.
2) Knowing that I get out of work at 1 pm tomorrow. WOOT.
3) I found not one, not two, but three cute wardrobe items at Target tonight. Love it.
4) As always, puppy snuggles and kisses.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 18: The Funny Guy at Starbucks

I only got about 5 hours of sleep last night, if that; I just had a bad day on Tuesday and my mind wasn't in the mood to slow down. So this morning, I got up (still not in a good mood) and was exhausted, and since Starbucks is not open at work until Monday, I decided I wanted a venti skinny caramel macchiato, and dammit, I was going to get one.

Even though I live in a decidedly yuppy neighborhood, the closest Starbucks to be is about 5 minutes away (and at that location, by the way, there are 3 within 100 yards of each other. I don't get it.) So I drove over, and the one without the drive-thru looked way less crowded, so I got out, ordered, etc. Got my coffee, went over to the sugar/milk/make-it-what-you-want-it station, and this random older hipster started the following conversation, during which we  barely looked at each other and just fixed our coffees.

Hipster: "How are you today?"
Me: "Fine, I guess. I'd probably be better if if was Monday and I didn't have work."
H: "Agreed. It should definitely be a vacation day. I wish I could live in vacation... but then again, maybe I don't."
M: "Because then we wouldn't appreciate it."
H: "Exactly, that's the problem.... maybe we would, though..."
M: "We should volunteer to try that out for the general population."
H: "YES. We should. It would be so self-sacrificing of us, people would probably be grateful we solved the mystery. And all for the better good of others."
M: "Let me know if you find a way to do that, I'm totally in."
H: "Done. If I figure it out, I'll let you know."
M: "Deal. Have a good day."
H: "You, too."

Best random conversation I've probably ever had, and it made my day about 1000x better. Thanks, random hipster dude with the sweet fedora- you are definitely winning.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 17: Hugs

I'm not really sure what I'm grateful for today, but I'll figure something out by the end of this post. You know how you have days sometimes when stuff just isn't great? Work was long, stressful, I delivered bad news to people for the majority of my day, and I didn't get anything crossed off of my to-do list. I got bad news about a close family member's health. Nothing exciting or fun happened.

But I think these are the days that I might need this exercise in gratefulness the most- days when nothing was great, some stuff wasn't even good. It's days like these that I need to remember how fortunate I truly am in just my day to day existence because I have some really good basic building blocks in my life. So today- today I'll be grateful for hugs.

I'm grateful for knowing I can get a hug from some of my closer coworkers anytime I need one (like the time my aunt's dog died (my favorite one of her dogs) and I was crying at my desk). I'm grateful knowing I can get a verbal hug over the phone from family whenever my day isn't good and I need encouragement. I'm grateful to have the doggie equivalent of a hug (puppy kisses and snuggles) available at my disposal each day when I get home. And I'm triple grateful that almost every day, I can snuggle up into my husband and the whole world seems ok for a minute, because I'm protected from everything by him and his love and strength. I'm really, really fortunate to have all of those hugs available to me, and that much support surrounding me daily when I need it. So regardless of how today felt like it went, it was really an ok day. I had coworkers I could commiserate with, a mom to talk to on the phone, a husband to snuggle me, kisses from my pup, and family I got to see for a couple of hours. So life is good, really.

If only for a day, this project has served its purpose. =) XOXOXXX.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 16: My Everything

Serious time, y'all. You've been warned.

Yesterday I took a break from the world and watched my DVR, napped, read- just had a really lazy and wonderful Sunday. Because of that lazy day, I hadn't heard about the tornadoes in Joplin, MO yet, and it confronted me full-on this morning at the start of my daily Today show routine.

I think most of us are aware of the complete and utter devastation that a tornado can create, but for some reason, the Joplin tornado disaster has really struck a nerve with me. Maybe it's because one of the main medical relief in the area, St John's Regional, was destroyed- people had literally nowhere to go for medical treatment. Maybe it's because it just kept pouring rain on the survivors trying to save their neighbors and help them out of debris. Maybe it's the footage of nothing but debris with small pockets of fire for literally miles. Or maybe, and most likely, it's the fact that this could happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, and you could literally see the normalcy of your life disintegrate within a matter of minutes.

As someone who grew up in a hurricane zone, I always anticipated them with a mixture of fear and excitement. I never experienced one until I was an adult, though, and it was post-Katrina- I wasn't too scared because I knew the storm wasn't that strong and I was in a strong building. But the thing is, I knew the storm was coming. As a precaution, I built a basic bunker into the walk-in closet in our then apartment, containing a large variety of dry and canned foods and staples (as well as our two guinea pigs.) But I knew the storm was coming. We'd been tracking it for days. I didn't have a massive disaster sprung upon me in a matter of minutes. And while I am NOT knocking the destructive power of hurricanes (and Ike did his fair share of damage and dream-crushing), the storms in Joplin and Alabama just blow my mind.

My heart breaks for these families, and their lost loved ones, pets, photographs, plans- everything. And after seeing the footage today of reporters openly crying, stunned dogs being pulled from debris, police chiefs working on for their community when their own home has been destroyed, I am just so grateful for my everything. For my family that is safe and well, for my belongings that I get to continue to enjoy, for my plans of celebrating my wedding anniversary and seeing my cousin graduate high school that I get to carry out. I'm just- grateful. And although I'm not an especially religious person, I'm continuing to offer up prayers, good wishes and all the hope that can be transported to Joplin, MO. May God bless them, and carry them through this most difficult of times.

If you're interested:
American Red Cross on Facebook
CNN update on Joplin, MO tornado

Day 15 (a day late): My DVR

OK, truly. What is wrong with me? I cannot seem to keep up with a post a day to save my life lately. But we're getting back on track tonight, don't you worry. (Because, you know, I can sense the impending panic out there in the blogosphere of the readers- all 2 of you.)

So let's get shallow for a minute. I'm in grad school, as has been mentioned. I work in a position that requires a lot of customer service, which can be difficult for a (nice but) sarcastic individual such as myself. And some days, I just want to come home and sit and be mindless. And some of those same days, TV programming will not cooperate and refuses to have anything on that piques my interest. Instead, it's full of less-than-desireable-to-me programming like Two and a Half Men (if someone can explain why that show is funny, I'd appreciate it), the same 2 episodes of Real Housewives of New York over and over (I used to love that show, but COME ON, ladies- how much drama can you have before you can't put up with yourselves anymore?!?) And this, my friends, is where my DVR enters the scene like a beautiful little silver box of happiness carried by unicorns leaving a trail of glitter in their wake. Oh, how very grateful I am for my DVR.

Now I'd like to be clear- I read. I watch the news in the mornings (because then I can shake off all the bad of the world throughout the day and not think about it while I fall asleep). I am educated. But holy Toledo, I love me some junk TV, and nothing is a better balm to a tired brain and a long day than junk TV. Allow me, if you will, to give you a synopsis of my DVR.
  • Bethenny Ever After- If you don't get it, you never will. I love her. She makes me feel sane and want to be her bestie all at the same time. Her baby is CUTE. And what better way to make a few milli than to invent a delicious low calorie cocktail and bottle it? Genius. Love it, love her.
  • Sister Wives- How on earth does this whole thing work? I'm fascinated by this family the same way I used to be fascinated by Jon and Kate Plus 8 before the Gosselin-pocalypse. They seem relatively normal, but live such a unique lifestyle. I can't stop watching.
  • How I Met Your Mother- I'm eternally grateful for the writer's strike back in 2008 or whenever it was for getting me sick of reruns and finding this show. I love, love, love HIMYM. I cried at the season finale. If you're a fan, you did, too. Internet high five. (Also, this isn't junk TV, it's a really well written sitcom, but irregardless, as Gretchen Wieners would say.)
  • Swamp People- HAVE YOU SEEN THIS? They're Cajun alligator hunters in Louisiana with accents so thick, the show has captions. You don't need to know any more. Just start. watching. now.
  • Storage Wars- this is my husband and I's newest obsession. It's even better than Extreme Couponing. It's these awesome people in Cali who bid on the contents of unpaid, past due storage units. So far we've seen them find everything from total junk from a hoarder to literally $13K worth of jade and ivory jewelry. The people who bid are total characters (I like the married couple who bicker and the crazy older guy who seems to be slightly tweaked out all the time); its great.
I told you I love junk TV. But I'm so grateful to have a gadget that enables me to have a nice, thought-free, relaxing moment on the couch at my beck and call. Anytime I need, I can take a little 22+ minute break from life and just veg. And that is truly something great.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 14 (a day late): My BWE Crew

I have a magnificent group of friends from college that I call my BWE friends. It all started when we worked together at one of UT's gym's (not Gregory, the good one- haha, the rivalry won't die). The staff of the gym was close because our shifts basically consisted of sitting together for four hours a few times a week- some days we were busy, and there were bursts of activity, but a lot of our time was spent sitting around together and talking. Inevitably, some of us really bonded, and when we graduated and moved to different cities, we missed each other. So a few of us started making routine trips to visit the others, and eventually we coined these trips to the the Best Weekend Ever. We have BWE the Original, BWE II to Austin, BWE3 (Dallas), then a few more to Houston. I've lost track of which BWE we're on, but it's approaching 10, I think. They are marking new events now- one was my wedding, last weekend was for one BWE-ers graduation with her MBA. But we all keep tabs on each other and meet up, and it's always so easy to pick right back up. I think we keep each other grounded and remembering who we are. It's a big positive in my life. I heart them- BWE for life.

Like M said, "Best. Weekend. Ever. Every time." And I love this picture, even though I think I look terrible.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 13 (a day late): Free Time

I know, I'm a day late. This is really hard to keep up with on weekends. But here is the overdue Friday post, tomorrow I'll catch up on both.

So on Friday, I came home after a really great work day, and I had no evening plans. I read on the porch and drank a glass of wine. I took a quick nap. Then I woke up and took the dog to the dog park. (She made a puppy friend.) And then I came home, and I hung out with E. And it was really, really great. I haven't had the free time to actually choose what to do with my time, with no pre-determined plans, in a really long time. I loved every flippin minute of it. I love all the elements of my life and the stuff I do that keeps me busy, but man, I am grateful that every so often I get to have the chance to choose exactly what I'd like to do in that moment and just be able to do it.

(Sorry this is short. That's what happens when I forget to do this until 5 minutes before we're supposed to meet someone at a bar. Whoops.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 12: The "Notes" Feature on my iPhone

I could write a whole post on why I love my iPhone, but two things really stand out in my affections for it: 1) the Map function because I have NO sense of direction whatsoever and 2) the Notes feature.

It's so adorable that I want to squish its cheeks or something.

For me, the Notes feature (which is a really basic part of the phone, comes with it when you buy it, etc) is basically the upgraded version of me writing on my hands with pen, but less smeary and dirty-looking. I'm a bit scatterbrained, possibly bordering on adult ADD, and the Notes app allows me to basically word vomit my thoughts onto that nice little digital notepad (which looks like a lined legal pad/Post-It- LOVE IT) and they'll be there when I want to come get them again later. For example, tonight we were driving home from a team banquet (E got a signed picture of his team from his team, and about half of them wrote versions of "I love you" with hearts- 14-16 year old boys are kind of hilarious.) I was thinking of all this stuff I need to do tomorrow morning when I get to work so I'm ready for orientation at 9:30, and instead of starting to stress about it or start complaining to E about it, I can just pull out my phone and make a short little list while he drives. Bam. Now I don't have to worry about trying to remember it later, I can pull it up when I get to work, and I can sleep easy tonight... and I don't have pen smears on my hand. Winning.

Organization. I likes it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 11: My Parents

I wasn't always especially close to my parents. There were times that I was flat-out not remotely close to my parents, to be honest. My family went through a lot while I was in middle school and high school; my grandparents lived in the same town as us, and they both became sick. My mother was the primary day to day caretaker, and at one point she was living with my grandfather when he left the nursing home to begin hospice care at home. It's been a really long journey to get to a good spot with my parents, especially my mom, but I'm so glad we're here now.

At my graduation dinner in May 2006- hopefully we'll all get to party again in August 2012!

My parents are really great people. They have raised me the way I want to raise my kids- to believe in integrity, accountability, and honesty. They instilled in me that a work ethic is critical because the world doesn't just hand anything to you, and they made sure that I knew family was priority one before anything else. I'm so grateful that I've had the opportunity to get to know them better as I got older and to get a glimpse of them as real people- I think once your child is officially an adult, you might have the opportunity to let your guard down a little and aren't as scared to show your faults, and I think that's really nice to see from a kid's perspective. My parents have supported me in almost every decision I have ever made, even when I didn't realize they were behind me. I feel so incredibly blessed that I can talk to them multiple times a week (and I do) because I appreciate now more than ever before (and I'll probably appreciate it more once I have children myself) how much they've given to me and how much they've given up for me. They're really beautiful individuals, and I love them to pieces.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 10: Mr. Jon Bon Jovi

Today I am grateful for the fact that I get to close out a long workday with the musical stylings of Bon Jovi in concert in about an hour. I'm more than halfway there, Bon Jovi- until I see you, I'm just living on a prayer.

I don't care what he looks like now, this is my version of Bon Jovi for all of time.  

(Sidenote- I'm grateful to my aunt for having random music tastes like I do and being into seeing artists for the sheer spectacle of it all and bringing me along as her companion for said shows. Thanks to her, I've seen the range from Britney to Celine, Gaga to TransSiberian Orchestra. She is hands down the best.)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 9: Being a Longhorn

I mean, we all knew it would get to this, wouldn't we? It's like you could basically name inevitable posts that would occur when I began this project: husband, dog, various family members, UT. Well, it's after 10:30 pm, I only slept 5 hours thanks to having to clean up vomit from my furry child last night, and I still have about an hour and a half of work to do before I can go to sleep. Bring on the inevitable post #1.

I don't even know where to start on this. I am so incredibly grateful to the University of Texas for influencing my life in the ways it did. UT was where I learned how to stand on my own two feet, and it made that happen for me by breaking me just a little then building me right back up by showing me that while I was by no means perfect, I was stronger than I originally thought. It forced me to think about why I thought what I thought, and said what I said. It surrounded me with diversity. It gave me a student job to keep me funded and able to attend school there without being completely destitute. It provided me with the opportunity to be an orientation advisor and a Camp Texas counselor, which has led to me finding a career I truly love and motivating me enough to get my M Ed. (Who knew that a job that paid roughly, when you broke it down, $2.57 an hour would inspire me in such a deep way? Ridiculous. I wish I could remember how I wound up applying for that position so I could thank whoever put that opportunity in my path.) It gave me a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP and the utmost respect for Vince Young (I'll still totally have your babies, Vince. I mean that.) Most of all, though, I am grateful to UT for their residential housing offices and Whitis Court.

UT Res Life had the foresight to send my mother some information somewhere along the way about Freshmen Interest Groups (FIGs) and how the FIG participants lived in Whitis Court. My mother all but demanded I live there. So I did. And I was placed with the best roommate I could ever have hoped for in my freshman year- she was perfect, right down to being my same size. They placed amazing people in the rooms all around me, and I'm happy some of those people are still my close friends. They got me into that FIG program (which in turn got me the best advisor I could have asked for and into classes that literally changed my life by causing me to rethink my actions and reactions in detail I could never have imagined). And then... UT Res Life somehow brought me back to Whitis Court my second year, when I was supposed to be on the other side of campus. It put me in a building in the quad that I didn't like, which caused me to branch out to make friends with people in other buildings, which caused me to be less of a complete raging bull when I stormed down the hall to yell at my friend Chris playing pool at 1 am when I had to be at work at 5:45 am. And it's a really good thing it did all that, because Chris was playing pool with a guy I'd never met before, and three weeks later I'd tell my roommate that I was going to marry that guy, and about 6 1/2 years later, I did.

And then UT helped give Evan me the best proposal I could have asked for. It literally couldn't have any better or more perfect to me in any way.

And then UT gave me engagement pictures I treasure.

It gave me a wedding full of the best people I could ever hope to surround myself with, so many of which E and I met during our time there. And those people helped give us this moment:

I genuinely hope the Eyes of Texas are upon us always, til Gabriel blows his horn. Hook 'Em.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 8: Not Ever Having Been 16 & Pregnant

Obvious, right? But I'm genuinely so grateful for this. Having grown up in an area where it wasn't uncommon at all to be a teen mother (I mean, there are daycares in the high schools- for the students' babies), I saw firsthand how hard it looked. There is nothing easy about being a parent, and to add additional stresses of being a teenager with raging emotions and hormones to that situation- I can't even imagine. Factor in the financial stress that usually comes with being a teen parent (how can you have a solid job when you haven't even finished high school yet?) and the frequent stressor of not having a partner to raise this child with- it's phenomenal to me that these girls are strong enough to get up and do it every single day, and that a lot of them raise really wonderful children. It's truly a testament to how strong people can be.

All that said (how strong they are, and how difficult that situation has to be), I'm really grateful that I haven't had that experience. I guess in a way, that makes me grateful for the fact that I wasn't exactly the hottest commodity in high school- I didn't have to deal with pressures that other people probably did, so that was a big blessing in disguise. But I'm glad I've been able to make choices that kept me childfree until I felt more prepared to take that on. I still don't feel fully prepared, and there's still things I would like to work out (such as finishing my education) before we do have a baby. But I'm so glad that there's a good chance my pregnancy, if I'm lucky enough to have one occur, will be full of love and joy and excitement that I can share with a phenomenal husband. And big, big love and prayers for those moms who are doing it a younger age and in less than ideal situations- my hat really goes off to them for their courage and strength.

Day 7: Loving My Job

This is a big one that I'm grateful for, y'all. This was intended to be Friday night's post (before I had issues logging in again and eventually fell asleep on the couch), which I thought about while at the Spring 2011 commencement ceremony.

I try to be somewhat vague within this blog on purpose, but basically, I've worked as a major university for the last 3 years directly with students. Starting this month, I'm transitioning to another position, where I work less directly with students but get to affect a wider reach of students.

I knew I loved working with students from my college experiences, where I was an orientation student leader and volunteered at a camp for incoming college freshman. I completely loved helping students get oriented to a new place, get excited about the new possibilities ahead of them, and then send them off to accomplish all the great things they have ahead of them. I didn't think I would be able, honestly, to get into this field because I didn't yet have a master's- the school I went to (UT, Texas Fight!) required a master's at minimum to work with students in most positions. When E and I moved to Houston, though, I decided I wanted to try to get into the field again- and somehow, it worked out.

I genuinely love my job. I don't mind when I stay late, I don't mind the stress, and I don't mind the sheer exhaustion I feel sometimes at the end of the day, because I really love what I do. I love knowing that I saved someone some time in graduating, or some money. I love knowing I was able to support someone on following their dreams. And I LOVE that every so often, I get to help someone enough that I feel like I've actually made a small impact on their life. That's the best part. I know what it's like to work and not love the work you're doing (I did that for about two years), and I am so very grateful that I was able to find a field I truly love, value and have so much enthusiasm about.

Day 6: Amazing Weather

I've had A LOT of technical difficulties lately. Pardon the tardiness, but we'll get caught up right now.

My beloved Texas gives us truly beautiful days so often. Granted, a lot of the time the beautiful day is accompanied by sweltering heat, but every so often, it's just beautiful- cool light breeze, big expanse of bright blue sky, sunshine that is warming but not scalding your skin. It's days like this that make me so incredibly grateful to live here, and make me wonder if I'm ever going to leave willingly. And recently, we got rain. RAIN. We went the entire month of April without rain, so having a good 30 minutes of rain pouring down was beyond fabulous. Thank you, weather, for being so nice lately and enabling people to have outdoor happy hours, outdoor events, playtime outside, and start their summer off right. (If more rain wanted to appear, I don't think anyone would argue....)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 5 a day late: My friend L

So this is a day late not because I was lacking in things to be grateful for, but because was out of commission from about 9 pm onward last night, so I couldn't put up a new post. I have to be honest, I was highly ungrateful for that one. It's ok,, we all have those days. No judgment.

Last night I had dinner with my friend L, who I love dearly. We know each other from college, and have my favorite start of a friendship story (she was friends with my now-husband first and they would study together a lot since they were in the same classes, and I was highly distrustful of her- until I met her, and then I loved her instantly, and then I "stole" her, as my husband says, and we were bridesmaids in each other's weddings and we heart each other forever.) I'm grateful for her for a number of reasons, but a few big ones are that she is always honest with me, she has a great sense of humor, and I know I can trust her with anything. There was a health scare for her not so long ago, and she fought through it (and kicked its tail) all with a lot of grace and maturity, and she has taught me so much about taking things as they are but not letting them be a roadblock. She is one of the most poised and classy people I know (even if she does prefer Dos Equis over liquor just about any day) because of that fighting spirit, honesty, sense of humor and general respect for those around her. She makes my day better every single time I see her or talk to her, and I really treasure our friendship- especially considering where we started out. =)

So, here's to you, L. I love you a million, you're one of my best friends on this planet, and I'm so very grateful for our connection and the time that we get to spend together.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day Four: Genuinely Nice Interactions

I just got back from Walgreens; my mission was to pick up some allergy medicine. (Allegra is now OTC, WHAT IS UP NOW, PHARMACY. So excited by this. Now I will never again have to feel like death just because my refills expired.) My cashier was completely freaking awesome. She was stocking but also working the cosmetics counter, and beckoned me over as soon as she saw me heading to check out, thus preventing me from standing in a line 3 people deep. Sweet. Then she asked genuinely nice questions about how my day has been so far, which prompted me to ask about her day, at which point we bonded over the fact that we both just finished finals. And then we got to talk about how her brother works at the university I work at and that she wants to go to the university when she's done with her basics, and I told her I think that's awesome and that it's great that she's knocking out the basics while working, and she told me she thought it was great that I was working and in school, too. What a ridiculously nice person she was, especially at 9:00 pm on a weekday in a Walgreens. ( I mentally high fived her after this whole conversation, but sometimes I think I high five too much, so I didn't actually go for it. I probably should have.)

So I went in for Allegra and tampons, and I came out feeling pretty darn happy and having made a new Walgreens friend named Bee. I adore stuff like this. It really, really makes me happy. Thanks, Bee. =)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day Three: Studying til 2 am Again

I'm grateful that I'm done with my Spring 2011 classes. KaBAM, I'm 1/3 of the way to my M Ed.I'm exhausted right now from the lack of sleep over the past few weeks thanks to studying, the stress of applying for and getting a new job, and just everything else. So- this probably won't be my most eloquent hour, but I'll try anyway.

I'm grateful that I'm pursuing the M Ed. I'm grateful that I've found a career I can be passionate about, and that this degree will help me further my career. (Someday I'll talk about work, but that's not today.) I'm grateful that my family is so supportive. I'm triple grateful that my husband is supportive of every single step I take towards this goal- through the tears and the whining and the exhaustion, he is there encouraging me. He's amazing. And I'm so grateful that I have this opportunity to further my education. It's easy for a lot of us to forget that college isn't a given for everyone- sometimes money and life get in the way. It's a blessing to be able to move forward in our lives through our education, and I'm going to try to remember that when I resume classes in 3 weeks and my summer weekends are sucked up. Will Summer 2011 be the best summer EVER? Um, no. And I'll probably whine about the 40 hr work week plus what feels like 8000 pages of reading and 500 pages worth of essays. But I'll try to remember this post next time I start whining about it. Nothing worth having ever came easily, and I'm fortunate and grateful that I've been given the opportunity to put in the effort to get this (at times much cursed) degree.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day Two: The Subaru

Friends who have known me for a long time have seen me through a LOT of cars in a relatively short amount of time (10 years). There was the Chevy Corsica (that I totaled by rear ending a truck), the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme (aka the USS Something, because it was a boat and a half, with which I rear ended someone again when the steering went out), the brief run with the Tercel with the almost rusted out hood, the beloved Chevy Blazer that belonged to my aunt, the hand-me-down Volvo from my parents with the crank sun-roof, and finally, my Corolla. I loved my Rolla fondly, but she finally was on her last leg/tire last summer- she was a 2001 and had been a good girl. The time had come, though, to invest in a new baby, and I chose to adopt a 2010 Subaru Forester (complete with the best sunroof in the world).

I'm fully aware that this is a material, shallow thing to love. But to me, my car means a lot more than a shiny ride. My Subaru is the culmination of a lot of saving, sacrificing and patience. It's my proof that I trust myself to own something nice. It's freedom- I don't have to worry anymore about taking car trips and being scared that I would end up stranded at the random Wolfe's truck stop 45 minutes from home (ahem, Volvo, I'm talking to you), and winding up not even going on the trip because of my fears. It's my future family car- recently I got to put two car seats in it containing one cute niece each so we could run errands together. And it's reassurance. I'm not scared anymore when I drive. I was terrified in my Corolla that it would die on a major highway and I'd be hit, or that the not-so-great brakes would not halt me when traffic suddenly stopped. Recently, when E and The Pup and I were cruising down the highway, a plastic kiddie pool flew out of someone's truck and landed right in the middle of the middle lane. Traffic immediately skidded to a halt. I stopped immediately, and landed about 6 inches from the bumper in front of me which happened to be a loaded down utility truck, complete with pipes and ladders on it- yet we were entirely safe. Terrifying? Yes. Grateful levels that my most loved beings in the world and I were protected by steel reinforced frame? Off the charts.

So, today I'm grateful for my Subaru. I'm grateful that I have a car with a sunroof that I can blast Texas Country through on sunny summer days. I'm grateful that I don't have to cross my fingers every time I turn the key, praying it will start again. And I'm so very grateful that I have had the opportunity and good fortune to be able to, in a small way, buy safety and security and freedom for myself and my family. I can't protect us from everything, but dammit, I can now save us from a plastic kiddie pool.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day One: Niece #1

Today's thing I'm grateful for: my Niece #1. #1 (of a total of 3) is 3 years old, and a blond bundle of energy and awesome. She was born to E's sister before E and I even got engaged (we've been married for almost 2 years), so there was this awkward period of me not being Aunt Ki but being Miss Ki or something; she was a newborn, so she doesn't recall this, and I'm glad for that because I never want to be anything to her but family. I've always loved babies and children, but as my first niece, #1 has a very special place in my heart. She is full of love and hugs and innocence and a personality for miles, and she's a fabulous big sister and beautiful little dancer and artist in her own right. She makes me grin every single time I see her. It's impossible for me to explain how grateful I am for her (I mean, how do you explain how much you love a child?) but I'll try.

  1. I'm grateful for her because she always runs to give me a hug as soon as she sees me. She makes me understand that for all my flaws, I'm worth loving. She's good like that.
  2. (TMI warning) I'm grateful for her because, gross and weird as this sounds, she likes me to be the one who takes her to go to the bathroom (she's potty trained, but sometimes she needs a bit of help because little kid arms just aren't very long, y'all.) I know her parents sometimes seem to be slightly embarrassed by this (because really, their kid is like "come wipe my butt, it will be fun, YAY" and that's not really socially what their goal is, I think) but I hope they have an inkling that not only does it not bother me remotely, but I'm amazed and humbled that she trusts me and likes to have me around that much. Weird that I cherish this? Maybe. But I'm okay with that.
  3. I'm grateful for her because she gives me an opportunity to better myself by being more patient, more articulate and more vulnerable.
She is truly a highlight of my life. I love her to pieces. But who wouldn't love and be grateful to have this little gem as a part of their family?

(please ignore the gargoyle-esque look of my dog in the background, kthx)

Before We Get Started...

Things you should know: I'm currently a student, I work full-time, I'm starting a new job, I'm married, and I have a tendency to take on more than is reasonable for me to handle. When I take on more than is reasonable for me to handle (which is, oh, 90% of the time), I have a tendency to get cranky, sad and negative like whoa. Other things you should know: grad school and working full time has really brought out that cranky/sad/negative version of myself. And I don't like that very much. It's not pleasant for those closest to me, and it's not pleasant for me- who wants to live in their head full of whining and sadness? Final thing you should know: Depression runs in my family. I've had bouts of it that, happily, were managed through therapy and through being around loving friends and family. Manageable as it was, though, I'm not eager to revisit that, and I'm nervous that this bout of blues I've been experiencing is putting me closer to the dark place I'm not particularly into traveling to.

This has been a particularly rough weekend. I'm closing in on the last week of finals, starting a new job on Monday (while still doing portions of the job I'm leaving for the next month), I'm struggling with choosing education and career over starting a family right now, and it's been a really busy semester that has finally piled up to a point where I was in silent tears on the couch yesterday. I finally got my tail off the couch today to go study tonight at Barnes and Noble (shout-out to B&N) and during one of my (multiple) study breaks, I saw this book called "365 Thank Yous" by John Kralik ( It's the summary of a year-long project that Kralik took on when his life was at an unpleasant point; he decided that instead of focusing on all that was wrong, he would write a thank you note every day of 2008 to stay grateful and appreciative of the good things in his life. I read pieces of Kralik's book tonight while studying, and it was such a simple and brilliant idea that I decided to do something similar for myself. There are a lot of good things happening around me every day, and there are really great people around me, too. Why am I whining about what's broken instead of being grateful for what is so wonderful?

So here is the plan, people. I'm going to take a few minutes daily to be grateful, and I'm going to do so through this blog. I've bought a little notebook that's going to be in my bag at all times, so I can make notes of specific things I'm grateful for or appreciative of. This isn't some altruistic movement I'm trying to start- I'm trying to change my own perspective and keep my mentality in a more positive place, so this is pretty selfish, really. But if you want to play along and share, or just read about what I'm figuring out or shouting out that day- please do. It might be fun to do it together. =)

So here we go. Let's get our grateful on.