A personal initiative to live more appreciatively

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

#97: My Treadmill

With dreary skies and a chilly, pelting rain, I am wholeheartedly thankful for my treadmill. It allows me to get in a run warm and dry, which would otherwise be cold and miserable. One of the smartest investments we've made, I remind myself to never look negatively upon what some people refer to as the "dreadmill." It's convenient, holds me accountable, and most importantly is a key tool in helping me maintain my training and fitness...no matter the weather.

#96: The Magic Kingdom

The following thought crossed my mind today: "I wish I were in the Magic Kingdom."

This is a thought that is apt to cross my mind any day, and honestly does most days. Today I thought it, in particular, because Disney is running an event in honor of Leap Day called "One More Disney Day." The Magic Kingdom opened this morning at 6 a.m. and, for the first time in history, will remain open for 24 hours. Anyone who knows me is aware of the high regard I hold for sleeping; there are few tradeoffs I would make in life that would result in me not getting a decent night's sleep. That being said, I wouldn't think twice about mustering the energy to stay up 24 hours and spend a full day in the Magic Kingdom.

My first trip to Disney World was when I was 4. Although I don't have vivid recollections of this trip, it is amongst my earliest memories. I remember posing for photos in Mickey's Toontown, being in the audience for a stage show about Mickey's birthday, and the beginning of my love affair with The Haunted Mansion. I didn't return to Disney World again until the fall of 2003, and can officially classify myself as "Disney World obsessed" as I've made visits 3 - 8 all within the past two years. I truly love all aspects of Disney World, but nothing more than the Magic Kingdom.

I appreciate the Magic Kingdom from the moment I walk within its gates. Passing under the train station and onto Main Street feels like crossing over a mythic threshold. Disney's vision was for an idyllic, American Main Street and, in typical Disney fashion, it's exactly that. I can, and have, spend hours wandering in and out of the stores, candy shop and bakery. I could spend a day in the Magic Kingdom and not go on a single ride (besides the Haunted Mansion) and be perfectly content hanging out on Main Street all day.

Cinderella Castle is picturesque, and I love to admire it from every angle. A photo in front of it is quintessential and perfectly captures the essence of Disney magic. From that central location one can travel to any part of the Magic Kingdom, and I appreciate them all, most especially the youthfulness of Fantasy Land and quaint Liberty Square. I love to walk around, look for characters, eat quality junk food, hop on and off rides, and even simply sit and bask in the simple joy of being there.

I've been reading about the events of the ongoing 24 hours of the Magic Kingdom throughout my day. While I can't fight off the feelings of envy for the people who are taking part in such a cool experience, I am also warmed by the sights and sounds of what is truly my happiest place on Earth.

Me with the castle all to myself

Disney Commercial I watch when I need a "Park Fix"
(Gets me every time & I don't even have kids. I'll bawl when I bring my own children there.)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#95: Tranquility in Traffic

I left my school today at 4:00, with a few quick stops planned, and assumed I would walk through my front door just after 5:00. Instead it was nearly 6:00 before I arrived home. My stops were as quick, if not quicker, than intended, but traffic was significantly worse.

I admittedly suffer from road "rage", although I think rage is an extreme term. Frustration just builds very easily in me when I drive. For someone who considers herself even-keeled 90% of the time, this agita is distressing in itself. So whenever I remain calm in traffic I am thankful. I'm not sure why I was able to today. Maybe it was the warm temperatures and having the window open a crack, my ability to get lost in NPR, or my acceptance of time in the car as time to reflect and ruminate on my thoughts. Either way, when my commute was extended an additional hour today, it didn't get to me, and that was wonderful. If only I could feel this way every time I am stuck in traffic!

Monday, February 27, 2012

#94: Good Weeknight Dinner

Kegan and I often default our weeknight dinners to meals that are quick and easy to make. We also occasionally eat separately when Kegan has to work late or find ourselves in Panera, the eating out equivalent of "quick and easy." Cooking is not something I enjoy to do, but I know I should prioritize it more. Preparing dinner is a chore I am often willing to cut corners with for the sake of saving time. Tonight, however, was a different story.

The meal I made tonight, pineapple chicken, is not a challenging, time consuming recipe (for whom I have Beckie to thank.) We've had it a few times, but for some reason tonight it was amazing. It was a meal that reminded me how good home cooked dinners can be. "Good dinners" have sadly become almost a luxury for us, reserved solely for weekends. But tonight I was reminded that a good weeknight dinner is possible and really appreciated, such a nice way to end a workday.

#93: Bob Harper

Similar to my previous post about Jillian Michaels, I am thankful today for Bob Harper. Like Jillian, Bob is  a trainer on "The Biggest Loser". He's one of the few celebrities I would actually say that I admire. He has an amazing attitude and true dedication to help others. Bob also avows a life of positive thinking, which I am also a huge believer in. Every week he posts a personal challenge on his Twitter feed, and I am always inspired by his encouragement to live a centered, healthy, simple life. Today I am feeling sore from my weekend workout of one of his DVDs, and while that is normally a pain, I am focusing on the soreness as something to be thankful for. I always remind myself I am lucky to be healthy and able enough to workout. I am happy to be a person who is mindful of their health. I am grateful that individual workouts, like the ones I "do with Bob" help me become stronger physically, mentally and emotionally.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

#92: Engagements

Within just a week two of my friends have gotten engaged. I loved getting the news and their stories. It's such an exciting, wonderful time for a couple. Both of my friends, Tara and Tina, are women who have so much love to give. It is wonderful to know that they will be spending their lives with men who make them unbelievably happy, and reflect back into their lives the depth of love they are so deserving of.

Engagements, in general, are really wonderful. When you think about the "news" you get in life, it's usually of the bad variety. I can't even watch local news anymore, because it seems to be negative story after negative story. Maybe that gets more viewership, but I for one would prefer to be surrounded by positivity. That's why I love to hear about engagements...it's news of the happiest variety. Today I am thankful for the engagements of Tina and Tara. You want nothing more for your friends than their happiness, and I am thankful they are at the threshold of their "happily ever afters".

#91: Weekend Workouts

It's so easy for exercise to be lost in the shuffle of weekdays. You're caught late at work, you feel too tired to get up early or workout at day's end, there's limited non-work hours and always so, so, so much to do. That's one of the reasons I appreciate the weekends, because it's often easier to get two quality workouts in over those two days.

This weekend I ran on Saturday and did a 45 minute Bob Harper workout video on Sunday. In all of my former training plans for halfs or the full marathon Sunday was a rest day, but I am coming to realize with age/understanding of my exercise habits that I should workout in some form on Sunday, even if I did a long run the day before. Regular exercise is so important and I am beginning to embrace the weekend as time to kick start that for the week.

This also reiterates an important viewpoint I adopted after reading 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam. This work espouses that believing you "don't have enough time" is a fallacy. There is always enough time; the real struggle is in regards to the choices that we make with how we spend our time. It's taught me to feel less guilty if I can't run or workout midweek-- sometimes I have to make the choice to prioritize work, errands or personal time. But it's also held me accountable. If I want to run and train for races, if I want to exercise for my physical and mental health, then I have to make the choice to get those workouts in sometime...and the weekends make it easy to do that.

Friday, February 24, 2012

#90: Modern Family

"Modern Family" is easily one of the funniest shows on tv right now, and arguably for me, personally, one of the funniest of all time. We just watched this week's episode tonight, and I truly appreciate everything about the show. I love both the characters and the actors who play them, the writing, and the fact that every episode finds away to be simultaneously hilarious and heartwarming. If you're not watching it, you should be.

"Modern Family" Trailer

Thursday, February 23, 2012

#89: Witnessing "A-Ha" Moments

One of the pleasures of teaching is witnessing students suddenly understand something. Today I was leading whole group discussions on the novel we are reading in my Literature classes and the short story I used as a mentor text in my Language Arts classes. Throughout this discussions, for some reason more than usual, I really enjoyed watching kids "get it". I appreciate the subtleties of some students, whose eyes simply focus and they quietly nod to themselves. Even more than that I enjoy the kids who can't help but make verbal proclamations of their understanding, who try harder than ever to stretch their arms impossibly high for me to call on them, or the student today who raised both arms. As a teacher, and like all teachers, I work so hard to scaffold questioning for this to happen; my ultimate goal is to make my students stronger readers and writers, and those moments of enlightenment are so appreciated. I challenge my students regularly because I know just how smart they all truly are, and it's always very cool to see them realize that for themselves.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#88: Phone Calls with Brianna

Unlike the stereotypical woman, I do not like to talk on the phone. Maybe this is due to the rise of email and texting, or my preference to spend time with someone and catch up in person (two contrasting means of communication, I realize). Of course I do like the occasional catch up phone call, but for the most part being on the phone regularly and for long stretches of time is not appealing to me. The exception, I think, are my phone calls with Brianna.

She's probably the friend with whom I talk most on the phone. We're really good at calling each other when we need advice or want to run something by someone. We both approach situations logically and with empathy, and in turn have become one another's "go-to". Beyond this, Brianna is just very conscientious. She calls on significant days, and is always reaching out, even to simply let you know that she's thinking of you.

Yesterday Brianna and I had one of our routine phone calls. It was nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary. But I hung up the phone with her and just felt good. It's always nice to hear from someone who is one of your best friends, someone who is reaffirming, someone who makes it evident that they care about you. Brianna can do this all in one call, and I am so grateful every time the phone rings and it's her name on the caller ID.


Shut the front door, people.

I don't think I have ever more in my life wanted to utter Baptist Church style jubilation. HallelujiahThankTheGoodLordSweetBabyJesus!

Honestly, finding the ring was rather ironic. I had an afternoon run scheduled for the day, and I mentally prepared myself to deal with my residual frustration and sadness while running since it's cathartic for me.  On this run I would accept the loss, and move on.

While sitting down in my family room to stretch for this exact run I was at the exact angle needed to see a circular glint in the centimeter space between the foot of my china hutch and the dining room floor. To be honest I almost hesitated in checking, because it was in the exact space where one one of those flat felt pads are on the feet of furniture, so that's what I initially assumed it was. Also I've been "looking" for my ring, even in places where it couldn't possibly have been, and I've been trying to temper that neurosis. But I went over, and as soon as I was laying on the floor parallel to it there was no mistaking that it was my ring. I fished it out with a knife, saying aloud, "OH.MY.GOD."

And so what was supposed to be a run of acceptance became a run of celebration. I'm sure I looked like a total weirdo fist pumping and lip-singing while I bounded through  my neighborhood, and I had to legitimately refrain myself from telling random people whom I passed, "Hey guess what?! I lost my wedding ring and found it today isn't that the best news ever?!" and embracing them. Seriously, I am that happy.

Not hard to decide what I'm thankful for today. Prayers to Saint Anthony, Armenian Folklore, well wishes, positive thinking, reassurance, and the return of a much loved, deeply missed ring.

P.S. Yes, yes, yes. I said I looked in "every obscure place twice", and you probably yelled out to your screen, "Check in that centimeter space between the foot of your furniture and the floor!" but I missed it. From now on I will know to check there for missing things. If I've learned anything from this experience it's that. And to not leave my wedding rings out in my home...that's a lesson I should probably internalize, as well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

#86: Pet Sitters

Anyone who is a pet owner and travels knows how stressful it can be to leave your pets behind. I've only had my cats for two years, and this was one of those unintentional consequences that I didn't expect as a new pet owner. An anxious traveler to begin with, I now had a new reason to be on edge when I went away. But I have been blessed to have two wonderful pet sitters in my sister, who looked over Kennedy and Noel this past weekend, and Erinn, who's also done numerous stints with them. Honestly, there's probably few requests more annoying in the world then, "Hey, I'm going to be away for a few days. Think you can stop in and check on my cats?" Luckily my sister and Erinn never hesitate to do so. They come by, take care of them, play with them and comfort them, in the case of Kennedy who never likes it when we're gone. Besides being appreciative of them on behalf of my cats, I also am so grateful that they put our minds at ease. They text us updates and send us photos, which is always great because we miss them and it's nice to see them. I know primarily they do this because they are just both very generous people and close to me, but I also know that they care about my cats, too. Dogs are easy to love, but cats you need to warm up to, and give them time to warm up to you. Kennedy and Noel, I know, love my sister and Erinn, and I love them for loving my cats back.

#85: Encouragement

After the debacle of misplacing my wedding band (which I think officially should be deemed lost instead of missing, as it has yet to turn up) I received so much encouragement from friends and family. I received messages and phone calls of concern, prayers on my behalf, and offers to come and help me look. Each and every outreach was and is so appreciated, and reminds me that what is truly important in life is nothing material.

Project Note

Hi, readers! Sorry that there's been an absence of posting for the past few days. Kegan and I went away for President's Weekend. I intended to post while away, but discovered that my Nook is not compatible with Blogger (first world problem). And so I will be posting at least two reflections for the next few days as I catch up. One major aspect of this project is to write daily, so I was frustrated that I fell off my nearly-perfect streak. I also hope I haven't lost any readers in my absence, and have troubleshooted how to prevent that from happening again.

Without further ado, the return of The Thankfulness Project...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

#84: Perspective

The human psyche is, truly, fascinating. A few hours ago I thought, "I will never even be able to speak of this. Ever." And here I am, about to write it on a public blog for the world at large to read, because writing about it now feels like the a necessity.

What is this, it?

I've lost my wedding ring.

My evening has, as you might expect, been hectic. I realized it was missing when I came home from dinner out with my sister. I went over to the ledge near my sink where I had earlier been washing dishes, and found only my engagement ring. Kegan was home, and so the three of us immediately began looking around the house. Assuming my cats were the culprits, we set out to look for where they had knocked it about. And, as you and I already know...we've yet to find it.

You can be shouting out obscure places it could be at the screen right now, but trust me. We've looked there. Twice. And yes, we've fathomed the obscure idea that maybe, possibly, one of my cats swallowed it. But they are not displaying any signs of intenstinal distress, although we will continue to monitor them and hope (for the first time in my entire life) that Noel will throw up as she tends to do regularly, anyway. Hey. It's one more place to look.

I've also wracked my brain to recall if I actually lost it somewhere earlier in my day than within the confines of my home. This is certainly possible, although I tend to think unlikely. Then again, when you've been married for five years your rings become a second skin. I subconciously put them on, wear them, and take them off. All I know is I put them on this morning, and 12 hours later, one of them was gone. This, coupled with my complete absent mindedness is a recipe for disaster. I am the first to admit that I am completely unobservant and go through my day with my mind in a million places. This has resulted in multiple misplacings of items, two lost (and then stolen) digital cameras, and my utter confusion earlier this week when I reached into my coat pocket for gloves and instead found socks. I don't know how they got there, just as much as I don't know where my ring has gone. Don't get me wrong, I am distraught. But I can hardly say that I am surprised.

My amazing sister helped turn my house upside down for two hours. After she left and it was just Kegan and I, I broke down, because this loss is unbelievably upsetting to me. I would rather misplace any material item I own before my wedding ring-- save for maybe my childhood teddy bear or the necklace my mother gave me on my 20th birthday. But other than those items (which, ironically, were a part of my actual wedding), there is nothing more valuable to me than my wedding ring. And I'm having to deal with the very real possibility that it is gone forever. No lie, I experienced the five stages of grief tonight.

Denial: No way would I lose it. That happens to other people, but not me. I'll find it. It's here.
Anger: Let's just say I pride myself on being good with words, which means expletives as well.
Bargaining: God...just let it show up and I promise I will never lose anything ever again/reform my absent mindedness and every other aspect of me which is horrible. I just need the ring back and then I will fix everything else.
Depression: I cried, and then I cried some more.

Which of course brings us to the final stage, and the reason why this horrible event has somehow made it's way onto my Thankfulness Project.


Amidst the searching, I just couldn't believe Kegan wasn't mad. He's the one who bought and gave me that ring, as we made our vows to one another, and he's also been the bystander to 10 years worth of my absentmindedness. I could only imagine how frustrated he was, and didn't understand why that wasn't being expressed. But when I was hysterically crying, he pulled me into a hug and put it all into perspective. "Yes you lost it and that's awful. But you didn't lose a family member, or a friend, or your health, or your job. You still have all of those things.  I know it's jewelry, and the most sentimental jewelry you own...but it's just that. I love you, and I will always love you, and that's what the ring represented, anyway."

As most girls would, this just made me cry more.

But he's right, and my sister was saying this, also, as she left. We all hope it turns up, but at the end of the day, it's just a symbol. Yes it symbolizes the most important aspect of my life...my marriage...but that has been unmarred by this incident. And for that, and for all the other countless blessings of my life, I am thankful.

In the middle of my hunt, I think when I was pulling every sweatshirt out of my closet to check the pockets, a calmness settled within me. I thought, "It'll all be okay." Of course I attributed this at the time to spiritual foresight that I would find the ring and thus everything would be okay. Now I recognize that I must accept the very likelihood that my realization that "it'll all be okay" might be the reality of life without my wedding ring. Because as upsetting as that would be, that would be the truth. It will all be okay. I might need to tell myself that repeatedly for a while- maybe forever- and it'll likely be an epiphany I continually have as I undoubtedly will continue to be upset about this for quite some time. The importance, though, is that the epiphany will come, and I'll remember to put it all in perspective.

But on another note...I'd also love for a future post to be "WEDDING RING: FOUND!" So if you don't mind, reader, please say a prayer or send well wishes into the universe that I stumble upon it somewhere.  Ideally not in cat vomit, but I'll take whatever I can get.

"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."- Martin Luther

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

#83: Valentine's Day

It's the simplest but most poignant of truths. "All you need is love." I'm thankful for any day that celebrates that sentiment.

Monday, February 13, 2012

#82: Flowers

Kegan brought me flowers tonight, a day before Valentine's to surprise me (although I would've been surprised anyway, because I never expect them). I know a lot of women say they don't like flowers-- I've heard comments like, "they are so stereotypical" and "they just die." Although this nonconformist attitude is a perspective I might be expected to have, I truly love when Kegan gets me flowers. I have a vivid memory of the first bouquet Kegan ever gave me, and for our 1st wedding anniversary he had my wedding bouquet remade and preserved because he knew how much those flowers meant to me. I am thankful for the flowers he brought me for this Valentine's Day and all the flowers he's ever given me. They are beautiful, precious in their brevity, and, in my opinion, not a stereotypical gesture of love but a timeless one.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

#81: Friendly's

Kegan is a total "foodie". He loves nothing more than a really good meal at a really good restaurant. Me? Well...I'm not. I love nothing more than a really good grilled cheese, regardless of where it comes from. Thankfully Kegan is willing to indulge my dining preferences, which means we often eat at Friendly's.

This restaurant chain recently filed for bankruptcy, so every time I go I wonder if it will be the last time I eat there before it shuts down. Trust me, it is nothing to write home about, but I actually am attached to Friendly's. During marathon training I regularly rewarded myself with ice cream from Friendly's at the end of each week. Now I can't eat a peanut butter cup sundae and not associate it with accomplishment. My childhood friends and I spent a lot of time there. Whether it was the post-swim meet celebration meal with teammates, or the summer evening destination my neighborhood friends and our moms would walk to, Friendly's was a mainstay of my youth. . My sister used to pick me up from elementary school so that we could have a mid school-day lunch together. Nothing makes a 5th grader feel more cool than having her 17 year old sister pick her up in the middle of the day, and I always valued that time together. I've always taken my nieces and nephews there, since I was a very young aunt and could more or less only afford lunches out there with them. Even though I can afford to take them other places we usually still go to to Friendly's, because nothing beats a fountain coke and sundae dessert (they are all related to me, after all). My hope is that the chain somehow sustains or has a recovery so that I can take my children there. The thought of sitting across from them in a booth, watching them get hot fudge all over themselves as they eat a conehead sundae is one of the aspects of motherhood I've always looked forward to.

There are so many important places in my life- Disney World, Boston, Bermuda. Equally important, though rarely valued, are the simple places that are meaningful. It's nice to go somewhere grand. But it's also nice to go to that place just around the corner, that place that's always been around-- so much so that you expected that it always would be. And it doesn't hurt if you can get a good grilled cheese while you're there.

#80: Erinn's Invitation to Run

Two weeks ago I began my training for a half in May and I was completely motivated to being my program. A week later I developed bronchitis, and it put a total stop to my plan. I stressed about losing a week so early in the schedule, but simultaneously lost the momentum I had been trying to build. With the intention to start running during the weekdays I planned to get myself on the treadmill for at least a one hour walk this morning. But even I knew this wasn't enough. The one hour walk would have just quieted the nagging guilt of continuing to be sedentary, but it really wouldn't do anything for my half-preparation. Luckily Erinn texted me to see if I wanted to meet her for a run this morning, and it was exactly what I needed to re-jumpstart training.

Running is one of the most important aspects of my life, but like most people, I sometimes struggle to motivate myself to exercise, regardless of how much I do truly enjoy doing it. On a Sunday morning, when you're still feeling slightly under the weather and are on the couch, bundled up in blankets with a cat lying on your feet, it's not so easy to just get up and go. But an opportunity to run with a good friend, have some company in the cold and put another run in the books can outweigh even all of that pleasantry. Thanks, Erinn, for getting me to run today and the run itself. Next time we BOTH wear day-glo skeleton gloves.

Friday, February 10, 2012

#79: Sonic Milkshakes

I've been craving a milkshake all week, so tonight I stopped and got myself one. So. Good. Crazy, seeing as it's freezing cold and February, but regardless of the time of year or weather, I am always grateful for a milkshake.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

#78: Bon Iver

I love the music of Bon Iver. Like most of my musical taste, Bon Iver is mellow and somewhat sad. It's indie folk at it's best, my favorite musical genre. They are up for four Grammy Awards, which will be awarded this weekend. Should they win I am sure they will become much more famous. Of course they are deserving of this, but I relish in these days before they gain a larger following. I've always liked being a fan before mainstream popularity.

"Bon Iver" is French for "Good Winter", and I definitely that's reflective of their band and fitting for the season. I find myself playing their album continuously these days, and love having their music fill up my home. Thanks are also due to Allison, who leaned over to me during a Greg Laswell concert and said, "You have got to download Bon Iver. They are totally your music." And, as usual, she was right.

"Skinny Love"


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

#77: Waiting For Superman

As has become tradition, when I am home sick from school I watch a documentary. Today I viewed Waiting For Superman, a film about the plight of American Education. By the end of it I was in tears.

As an educator this hits home for me. I admittedly feel conflicted on a regular basis regarding my role as a teacher. Despite the fact that I care about my students deeply, I do wonder often if there are other career paths for me besides this, because I am exhausted at the end of every day, and sometimes have a hard time seeing if I am truly making a difference. After watching this documentary today I am reminded that I am an individual working in a broken system, in an environment that is villainizing educators and only making it harder for us to move forward and make reparations. My career as an educator is only 6 years in length, but this film reminds me of the great influence and power I have everyday in my classroom, and the fact that the voices of those who want to make changes can be heard.

The film truly does speak for itself. I encourage everyone who is connected to or cares about education to watch it. Tomorrow I return to work reenergized and reinvigorated, and I mean in more ways than merely my health.

"Waiting For Superman" Trailer

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

#76: Beckie

While I truly do think, regularly, about how thankful I am for all of my friends, today I reflect specifically on how thankful I am for my very dear friend, Beckie.

The reason I am thankful for her today is because, out of the blue, she sent me a thank you card. This was surprising, and then also not. I was not expecting a card, but it is not unlike Beckie to make gestures of friendship and kindness. She is, undoubtedly, one of the most selfless people I know.

We met freshman year when we lived on the same freshman floor. When I look back on those first few months of being friends I can't help but laugh. Little did I know at the time that Beckie is a math genius, and I was struggling through Calculus that first semester. She always lightheartedly reprimands me for not saying anything, because despite the fact that she had her own course load, Beckie would have totally gotten me through that class. Although she didn't help me with Calculus, Beckie has helped me countless times since then. Unbelievably patient, always willing to lend an attentive ear, gracious in every sense of the word, never judgmental, she's an amazing woman and a friend you can trust wholeheartedly.

Adding to her genuine nature, Beckie is also really funny and always a good time to be with. I will always remember on my 21st birthday my brother Dennis drove to Atlantic City in a car with Beckie. After we arrived he walked over to me and told me some anecdote about Beckie and the entertaining conversations they had in the car and said, "I totally know why you're friends with her." Anyone would want to be friends with Beckie and probably could be, because she's such a warm and open person. But I pride myself on being able to call Beckie one of my best friends...because I think she gets and appreciates me on a level most people don't. We love making ridiculous observations (like thinking of scenarios that skeletons are in at all times) and indulges in our inside jokes from years ago (like the honey chile dog). She and I drove alone down to South Carolina a few summers ago, our other friends in a separate car, and was even willing to take the ride back with me despite the fact that I was being totally neurotic. Those two car rides will always hold a really special place in my heart when I think of Beckie and our friendship. We talked nearly nonstop the entire time, both ways, from superficial conversations to those really deep ones you can only have with people who you are close with. She introduced me to Antoine Dodson in the parking lot of a Virginia rest stop, and I think we laughed about that for the next two hours. Actually, when I think about that car ride, I think we laughed more or less the entire time. When we all arrived back to New Jersey and I had another 45 minute drive alone, home, I texted Beckie that I missed her. Because I truly did.

I know Beckie is reading this tonight, because she's been a faithful reader of my blog since I started it in November. Because Beckie is, when it comes down to it, faithful. That's one of the qualities I admire most about her.

So, Beckie, thank you. Thank you for your card today, for all of the support and laughter you've brought into my life over the past ten years, and most of all thank you for your friendship.

Beckie and me, in the best self portrait I've ever taken. 

P.S. Beckie- Watch This!

Monday, February 6, 2012

#75: My Doctor

While I'm not thankful I had to go see my doctor, I am thankful for my doctor, himself. He's down to earth, funny and genuinely spends time with you when you're there to see him. He also loves Disney World, running and is oddly reminiscent of Doogie Howser, in the sense that he looks like he's 17 years old. What's not to love? He's honestly the perfect doctor for me. I am so glad Kegan was once bit by a spider and thought he had some strange arachnid-induced illness which resulted in us finding our doctor!

Naturally I am also thankful Kegan did not contract any diseases from a spider. Unless he's claiming he goes "to work" and really is a Peter Parker style vigilante. Hmmm...

Sorry. That was lame. I'm sick! Cut me some slack.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

#74: Feeling Well

"You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone" is so true, especially when it comes to one's health. Yes, it's just a cold...but it's knocked me down pretty hard this weekend. Whenever I am sick, even with something as insignificant as this weekend, I can't help but think how much I take for granted when I am feeling well. There's nothing more personally important in life than one's health, and yet day-to-day we fail to recognize how amazing it is to feel 100%. I couldn't run, couldn't enjoy anything I ate this weekend, and had no energy to do anything but lay on the couch. This was, by no means, the usual weekend lethargy I enjoy. It wasn't relaxing because I felt depleted, and the whole time I thought about how thankful I will be as soon as I am feeling well again, and how retrospectively thankful I am for all those days I was in good health and didn't take the time to appreciate it.

#73: Sweatpants

I've lived in my Sigma sweatpants all weekend. So wonderful, I own two pairs! I'm a creature of comfort, and there is literally nothing I own more comfortable than these sweatpants. I'm thankful every time I pull them on.

Friday, February 3, 2012

#72: Jen

Jen is my co-worker, Language Arts partner, and the first to see me this morning in my slightly disoriented state (see my post about Cold Medicine ). “What’s wrong with you?” she asked, my NyQuil-addled state not as inconspicuous as I had hoped. All I had to do was tell her I wasn’t feeling well, and Jen was immediately to my rescue.

She pulled me into her room, handing me vocabulary resources she had made for her classes, so that my students could work independently. It went along very well with my intended lesson plan for the day, so I gratefully took them; using these resources allowed me to have productive classes despite the fact that I wasn’t feeling 100%. This selfless gesture and willingness to help encapsulates Jen and how wonderful she is, both as a coworker and friend.

Jen and I have been coworkers for six years, but this is the first year we are actually working together as a team. I feel so blessed to be paired with her. She is a phenomenal teacher, and I love sharing students and teaching responsibilities with her. Jen is the kind of teacher whose classroom you walk into and can literally feel the learning that’s happening within its walls. We bounce ideas off one another for lessons, activities and projects, and I am so appreciative that I work with someone who is so willing to collaborate. The students we share are learning so much from her, and I am as well.

She has a number of wonderful personal attributes in addition to her professional ones. She has a biting sense of humor that is hysterical…I don’t think there’s been a single day that I’ve been around her and she hasn’t made me laugh.  She’s irresistibly likeable, one of those rare people whom you know everyone genuinely loves and loves to be around. There’s an ease about her that is calming and reassuring, she’s supportive and reliable…qualities that make her a great co-worker and great friend. Jen is someone you want on your team—literally and figuratively—and I am so thankful she’s on mine.

#71: Cold Medicine

I am pretty adverse to medications of any kind. Unless it's the bubble-gum flavored syrup of my childhood, I don't want to take any, ever. But sometimes I relent and realize it's for the best, and often is exactly what's needed. Today I am thankful for cold medicine. Some congestive-bronchial situation is wreaking havoc on my immune system, but with the help of NyQuil and DayQuil I was knocked out last night and functioning today.

I'm also thankful for the good graces of God that kept me from crashing while I drove to work this morning, because I am pretty sure I was still feeling the effects of the NyQuil. Yikes. Powerful stuff.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

#70: Unexpected Run-Ins

While on my run today I passed two children whom I used to babysit and their mother. The kids had no recollection of who I was-- they were four and one when I watched them.  It feels like it was just yesterday, but in reality it's been twelve years. Their mom even joked that her daughter could babysit my kids someday! I'm glad I ran into them (literally). It's always nice to see people you haven't seen in a long time, especially when they were babies the last time you saw them! It's a reminder of how quickly time actually does pass, and as the old adage says, that "the days are long, but the years are short." As I finished the run back to my house I thought of this, and how much we should value each and every day, even the mundane ones.