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.