Last Weeks’ Good Things

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I have two weeks worth of good things to report on. We had a great roadtrip to Louisville, Kentucky for the Forecastle Music Festival. That occupies most of the spots in this recap, but there were other mentionable good things too.sharon

  1. Lots of festival music – Over the three days at the festival, we moved from stage to stage to hear some amazing and fun music. The three headliners that ended the nights were Outkast, Jack White, and Beck. I loved them all, but Beck was my favorite. While his latest album is rather quiet, you would not have thought so listening to his show. He covered lots of his territory along with some covers like Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean – and then he finished with Where it’s At. It was enough for Dan to throw a somersault into his dancing. I also saw my man, Jason Isbell who was fantastic. My best surprise was Sharon van Etten. I had her on my list to see, but didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. She was great and her personality was winning. Sun Kil Moon was disappointing, but the set-up just didn’t work well for his quiet style. Hayes Carll (more on him later), delighted me. He was on the smallest of the stages and it worked fantastically. Others on my dancelist: The Black Lips, Spoon, Against Me, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Lord Huron, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Dwight Yoakam (wasn’t expecting much from this one, but it was great fun – especially watching Dan enjoy it!), Jenny Lewis. Music is good for the soul.hayes
  2. Hayes Carll – After enjoying the show at Forecastle, we realized that Hayes Carl was going to be in Kansas City this week. On Wednesday, we went to Knuckleheads and enjoyed another show by this great storyteller. His Louisville and KC sets differed quite a bit. If you have not listened to this guy, I would recommend you take some time with him. He is another one of those songwriters with a gift for language and his songs tell life stories. Wednesday, in honor of his son’s birthday, he sang a sweet and tender song about his love for magic. The very next song was a hilarious one about his baby stealing all of his wife’s attention. Good stuff.bourbon tent
  3. Fancy, air-conditioned portable bathrooms – WIth our festival tickets we also sprang for tickets to the Bourbon Lounge. That got us a fun, insulated cup that vendors inside this huge tent, willingly filled with bourbon. That was great, but as good was that it also gave us access to these special portapotties. This may be a thing, but I have never seen them before. It was like a big trailer that had regular stalls. It was kept clean during the day, and it was air conditioned. I adore this concept.
  4. Lending an Ear – I was sitting alone at the Jenny Lewis concert when the woman sitting behind me asked if she could join me. I said sure and she proceeded to pull her blanket up and we chatted on and off during the show. She seemed to have a bunch going on and she teared up a little as she talked. It wasn’t a big thing, but when the show was over and we got up to leave, she gave me a big hug and thanked me for my kindness. That felt good.ali & jose
  5. Roadtrip meet-up – The other great thing about the trip was not only being able to travel with J & M, but we also met up with Ali and Jose, who made the trip from New Orleans. Over the days, we got to share in some fun music watching, silly dancing, good food sharing, bourbon sipping, late-night pizza ordering, and Catch-phrase competitions (even though the boys won the last night, I am confident that the girls were superior).braceletsThose weeks will be tough to beat, but I am ready for what this week has to offer. How about you? What good happened during your week?

Last ?’s Good Things

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It has been almost a month since I posted! That is the worse performance I have had yet. There are definitely excuses to be submitted, but I think the better thing is to just to get on with it. To ground myself, I am going to take a look back at that month that was and pick out memorable good things. Onward!

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Kids Were Home – While right now, it already seems like it was ages ago, we did have both kids and their significant others under our roof – all at once – during the last month. That was a first that has happened, and I can’t wait for the next! Our little house had to compromise a little to accommodate everyone, but it worked. There were some first  meetings among them that were sweet. I had a day that we spent eating Oklahoma Joe’s and then wandering the zoo. We played games and we ate around Kansas City like nobody’s business. I have such sweet memories of the kids while they were growing up and all of the things we used to do together. This having adult children who live away from you is something that you adjust to, but is never completely easy. I like to be with them. I like to sit in the same room with them. I like to be more keyed into what is going on with them. I like to share meals with them. I like to get to know their partners better. When they leave, there is always still an achy heart. But they will be back!

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A Happy Announcement – So, during that time we had the kids home, something very happy happened. On our 32nd anniversary, Jose asked Ali to marry him and she said yes. Dan and I both are so happy for both of them. Seeing them so happy with each other, makes us confident that their decision to spend their lives together is a good one. This is another new phase of our lives, but what a wonderful one. 

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My New Office – Six years ago, my office got moved from inside the hospital to a trailer about a block away. Granted, it was a big trailer that held all of my very wonderful team members also, and my office did have a lovely view of downtown Kansas City. Nevertheless, it had its down sides. When we moved to the trailer, it was noted that it would be temporary. Temporary ended last month! I am now in a newly renovated building that houses most everyone in our department. My office is spacious with beautiful big tall windows. I am still in the midst of figuring out how to personalize it, but it is getting there. 

IMG_0989Making a new dish – Last weekend, as I emerged from everything that was going on, I decided that it was time to cook something new. When we were in Louisville last year, we went to Milkwood which is Chef Edward Lee’s restaurant. We tasted lots of dishes, all of which had wonderful flavors. Since then, I got his cookbook that is fun to look at, but which I had not cooked out of too much. Saturday I made his Rice Bowl With Beef, Onions, Collards, Fried Egg, and Corn Rémoulade. I am a pretty good cook, mainly because I pick good recipes and I follow directions well, but this may have been the best thing that I have every made. The Corn Rémoulade alone was so tasty. If I could have gotten away with it, I would have sat with a spoon and just eaten that like pudding. It was fun to prep this meal with all of the steps. It was fun to set the table and pour a wine. It was a very good thing to sit and share it with Dan – and, holy cow, was it delicious!

IMG_1004New Notebook – It seems appropriate that I got to start a new notebook during this time. Finishing off my last one, I looked back on its pages and appreciated all that it captured. When I think of all of the journals that I have kept through the years, I think this format makes me happiest. It kind of logs my life in both a reflective and positive way.

So, there it is. A new post. I am happy to be back!

Last Week’s Good Things

weekI will say it again, because there are times that I need to remind myself of it. It is really important to do good things and see good things. Not doing so – especially during stressful weeks – makes for an imbalance. I am working on this week’s list, but last week had some very good things that need to be remembered.

Mother’s Day – Wowzer! Was Mother’s Day really just a week ago!? That is what my journal says. My Mother’s Day was very nice. After I lost my own mom, this became a day with very mixed emotions – a day that amplified the absence. But this Mom’s Day, early phone calls from both Sam and Ali made me focus on the being a mother side of Mother’s Day. When I became a mom, I thought I couldn’t love my babies more. I was wrong.

My Team – There is a lot going on at work. There is a big inspection that we are preparing for, we are getting ready to move, and our normal workload continues to expand and get more complicated. When the going gets tough, however, my teammates step up even more. They are awesome. They don’t complain. They offer help. They offer support. Being a part of that makes me proud.

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Jimi Hendrix on a postage stamp – Yeah, Jimi Hendrix. That is you on a US postage stamp. I bet you saw that coming.

Huber2 photo 1Huber the Tuber – We found this book at a used book store several years ago, and I hadn’t really looked at it since. Last week I picked it up and read it. Huber is a tubercle bacillus trying to just peacefully exist in a host lung. Things go to hell, however, when a bunch of other bacilli want to stir things up and take over. It is quite a riotous romp through the pulmonary system. The book was published in 1942. The author, Harry Wilmer, was a doctor who wrote and illustrated this book to help children understand tuberculosis. Like so many good pieces of children’s culture, there is a lot here for the adult. The caricatures that Wilmer draws reflect the day’s politics and society. It is a treasure!

pens Prismacolor Markers – I am a lover of pens and color. This pack of Prismacolor makers that I have are the best! It’s the little things that make me happy sometimes, you know? When I am writing something and all of a sudden I notice how nice the pen writes, how good the color looks, how the other colors are there just waiting to be used – how good is that?

Keep looking for those good things. I will too!

Last Week’s Good Things

backThe intensity of life continues, so it is more than great to think back on a few of last week’s good things.

Dirt DevilMother’s Day – When I was pregnant with Sam, Dan got me a cute Mother’s Day card with a scribbles all over it – aka baby signature. That was 29 mother’s days ago. This year, our two babies are miles away, but on Mother’s Day morning I got calls from both of them. The sounds of their voices is more than good. Having that start to my day, and then just spending a relaxing day around the house with Dan seemed like a good celebration. I do have a funny Mother’s Day bit to share. Needing something new for cleaning purposes, I ordered a small Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner from Amazon. Apparently, I forgot to tell Dan. Coupled with this, the kids both told us that they had gone in together to buy us a combined Mother’s Day/Father’s Day gift that would be arriving sometime. Coupled with this, next month, both kids will be home with their respective mates. Soooo …. yesterday, Dan came home from work and opened up the package that arrived – the Dirt Devil. He put 2 and 2 together and couldn’t believe those kids had the nerve of sending us a cleaning machine! When he called me to voice his incredulousness, I set him straight and family peace was restored.

peonyFirst peonies – Two weeks ago it was hummingbirds, last week it was peonies. We have the gift of having several very old peony bushes in our backyard. When they finally bloom, they are magnificent. The color; the scent – the best!

LooseWork Retreat – Since I started working at the hospital fourteen years ago, my department has grown and grown. We tend to have a retreat every three years, and it is during those that the extent of the growth can really be visualized. We gathered for our retreat last week at an incredibly beautiful historic Kansas City location. We spent the day hearing about the accomplishments and visions of each of the different areas of our Division, as well as of the hospital. We got to know each other better over some free time activities and lunch. The day ended with us taping a piece of paper on our back and writing good things on each other’s. The scene of one hundred people, kind of Conga lining as they wrote on each other’s paper, brought smiles.

Jack is Back – Raspy voiced, Kiefer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer is back for a new season of “24.” This show with its absurd, but compelling action is fun television.  

The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie – I am trying to catch up on my New York Times reading and not being incredibly successful. However, last week I got through a Sunday Magazine that was a few weeks old. First of all, every week that publication puts out beautifully written, long pieces of journalism! That is a good thing in itself. The article that really got to me last week was an April 13 article by John Jeremiah SullivanThe Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie delves into finding the two women who recorded a rare but revered blues record in the early 1930s. The best thing about this piece is the trail that the author takes to investigate it and write it. It is really wonderful and the Times website  supplements what was published with additional audio and visual. It is good history writing.

I hope that your week brings you many good things! 

Last Week’s Good Things

goodWhen you can’t sleep, what better thing to do then just get out of bed and write about last week’s good things? 

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Making and sharing pierogies for Easter – Although it seems like a gazillion years ago, Easter was officially during last week. On Easter Sunday, we had family and friends over – 13 in total. Late in the afternoon, Dan’s sister came over and the three of us became a pierogie making machine. Pierogies, if you are not familiar, are a Polish dish – very much like a ravioli. The family version that Dan and his sister enjoy is filled with cottage cheese, sour cream and lots of pepper. Our finely tuned system included Dan making and rolling out the dough, me filling, cutting and crimping, and Laura boiling, buttering, and baking. The result was delicious, and because it was such a beautiful day, everyone took their plate out to the patio. We sat around talking of pierogies of old, the welcoming of spring, and whatnot. That was a fine example of a holiday celebration.

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Austin KleonAustin Kleon is an artist and author. He has done a TED talk and a keynote at SXSW about creativity and being out there with your creativity – show your work. As part of Kansas City’s Middle of the Map forum, I got a ticket to go hear Austin speak on Tuesday night. Work has been more than hectic these days, so leaving work at a reasonable hour seemed decadent. Add to that, going to a cool space in the Crossroads arts district – where they welcomed me with a free copy of one of Austin’s books and a cold Boulevard Pale Ale – heavenly! Austin’s talk was all about fostering creativity followed by a charming Q & A session. He also has one of the most fun book signatures I have encountered.

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Happy Hour Symphony – I guess I can’t whine about work hours too much since last Monday, Dan came to pick me up at work so we could go to the Kansas City Symphony’s Happy Hour. I had no idea that these existed, but we got an invite to come along with friends. This is a free series offered by the symphony and it includes time prior to the concert where you can hang around the beautiful lobby in the Kauffman Center and have a drink and chat. The concert itself only lasts an hour, so many people were there with their kids. We heard three pieces played by various ensembles. I had not been in Helzberg Hall before, but it is fantastically gorgeous with not a bad seat and incredible sound.

Mary Roach – It was a eventful week! Thursday night, I met friends at another beautiful Kansas City space – the Kansas City Central Library. It always makes me think of a New York Public library at a smaller, but just as lovely, scale. Thursday’s menu was a talk by author, Mary Roach. Mary’s most recent book is Gulp, which is a guidebook of your alimentary canal. The talk was a dialogue with a library staff member, followed by questions and answers. Mary has had a pretty fascinating writing life – writing books about sex, cadavers, life in space, and the afterlife. A author who spins science well is a friend of mine.

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Happy birthday to Dan – Saturday we got to celebrate Dan’s birthday. Because he had to go into work in the morning, I spent some time doing some shopping and preparing for the requested birthday meal. The main dish was T-bone steaks which I got from McGonigles. I made twice baked potatoes with cheddar, sour cream, bacon and added a good amount of heat. Heirloom cherry tomatoes with avacados made the meal healthy. Dessert was Shatto vanilla ice cream with a choice of toppings. Friends were over to share in the bounty. We welcomed Dan into his new year delightfully well.

It is Wednesday already so I need to start enumerating what has been going on this week. I hope that your good things are piling up!

Last Week’s Good Things

weekThis was a week that began with snow on Monday and ended with shorts on Saturday. How confusing! I think that we are reaching the point where I can actually put away my winter clothes. That is a very good thing in itself, but here are a few others that were memorable during the week:

1. Accomplishments at work – Sometimes there are projects that you work on that you just get done solo. Other times, there are projects that require the input of lots of different people contributing lots of different pieces. Everyone has an important part, but, unfortunately, everyone doesn’t always understand how important their part is. This week I had a multi-part project that required input from a number of different people. I needed letters formatted, numbers calculated, careers summarized… It all came together and I was proud to be a part of it! And in the end, I got to celebrate over some very nice tequila.

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2. JD McPherson at Knuckleheads – I had heard of JD McPherson, but had not really paid too much attention to him. A few of my friends, however, think that he is pretty awesome and had gotten tickets to go see him at Knuckleheads on Tuesday night. Since it was doable on our part, Dan and I went too. He is a very delightful performer, and the fact that lots of his family and friends were there was pretty great.  JD has kind of a blues, rockabilly style that is catchy and fun. What is most noticeable, however, is how much fun this guy has performing. Watching him from my seat, he had neon over him proclaiming “God loves you when you dance.” It seemed to fit very well for a midweek night in a roadhouse in the middle of America.

buda3. Grand Budapest Hotel – I have written before about how good friends and we have committed to a movie a month date. This week, when given the choices, I pounced on going to the Grand Budapest Hotel. Well, it turns out that our friends had already seen it, but were wanting/willing to see it again. Swoon. I fell in movie love. Not only is the movie as beautiful as I expected, but it is also super funny. What got me most, however, was how extremely kind this movie is. The sense of the movie is being a friend/confidant/mentor to others and seeing that relationship through. It is lovely.green

4. Green Flag – Saturday proved to be a great day in Kansas City. Dan and I worked in the yard and got things looking better. We planted some seeds, mowed some grass, and pulled some weeds. At the end of the day, Dan made the decision to fly the green flag. The green flag is our designated symbol that our patio is open for business and if anyone wants to stop by for beer, wine, soda, chat – we are ready. As it turned out, no one showed up. That left Dan and me. We sat outside playing music on our Iphones and trying to guess the artist. It was so fun!  Next time the green flag is out, come and join in!

5.  No Nighttime tv – Dan and I gave up watching mindless tv for Lent. This is not necessarily a religious thing, but it is meaningful. How much time do I spend looking at someone chopping food, or telling jokes, or solving a crime… that could be better spent doing something that means more to me. The end of our pledge is here. What happens now?

Happy new week to all of you. Thanks for reading my blog and I hope that all of you have lots of good things in your new week!!

Last Week’s Good Things

 

apr6It was 80 degrees in Kansas City on Saturday. It was a day that I should have had the top down on my car, mowed the grass, planted something, had a drink on the patio, or washed my car. I didn’t do any of those things, but here are some other good things that happened during the week.

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1. Union College wins the Division I Hockey Championship – Little Union College in Schenectady, NY is where both Dan and I went to school. It is an idyllic little liberal arts school in the middle of a very working class town. It is known much more for academics than sports. But this week, the Union College Dutchmen (yep, you read that right), plowed past Boston College and the University of Minnesota to be the victor of the Frozen Four. Saturday night, we had friends over and watched the game over cocktails and locally made kielbasa. That’s the way it should be done.

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2. Flowering Kansas City – I always think that there is one week in Kansas City that outshines all others as far as showing off its beautiful nature. Maybe there will be better, but it is going to be hard to beat last week for the best. Magnolias, Bradford Pear, Forsythia, Redbuds, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths! Even the dandelions looked bright and cheery. Well done nature!

3. Pattie Mansur wins a school board seat! – I met Pattie when her daughter became a member of my Girl Scout troop. It was such a gift to me to become acquainted with such a caring and fun family. There are always people in your life that you know you can count on. That is the Mansur family. Even though Girl Scout days are long past, I  still run into Pattie occasionally. We always eagerly catch up. When she announced that she was running for school board, I was so excited for our city. This week, voters came out and elected a wonderful advocate for all of the children of our city.

s4. S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst – I love to read and I love pretty books. When those two elements are combined, it is more than delightful. This week I finished reading S.. I can’t really adequately describe what an amazing book this is. There is marginalia of several different colors snaking its way around most every page of the book. Tucked inside you will find mass cards, napkins with maps, letters, code solvers … You just don’t know what is next. I must say that I enjoyed the experience of reading the book more than the book itself, but that is not really fair. I know he is J.J. Abrams, but the fact that publishers still gave the okay for this makes me optimistic about the future of book books.

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5. 10,000th Blog View – Early this week, someone clicked on my blog for the 10,000th time. That is pretty cool to me. It is not the sign of a hugely successful blog, but it is a sign that many of you read what I write and choose to come back. There are weeks that I don’t feel like posting this or anything. I usually convince myself that my being there is both good for me, and for the people who might read it and recognize good things that they otherwise may not have. Thanks for being part of my second 10,000!

Have a good week and be aware of the good things!

 

 

Last Week’s Good Things

 

photoThis was the week that Dan and I listened to Pharrell Williams quite a bit. That means that the song Happy was often in our ears. That wasn’t the only good thing this week. Here are a few more:

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1. Larry Tye talking about Superman at the Library – The Kansas City Library has an amazing schedule of speakers during any month. I can remember so many good authors and talks that I have gone to over the years. Last week, I left work and headed to the beautiful downtown library to hear a talk about Superman. Before the talk, I got to roam through the current exhibit focused upon how American comic books took on the Nazis, Hitler and the Holocaust. After that, I got my complementary glass of wine, and plate of snacks, and sat down to hear a very engaging Mr. Tye talk about the genesis of Superman. That was not a bad way to end a day!

2. The Etsy Gift – Dan had been telling me that he had bought me a gift on Etsy, but he wasn’t quite sure if I was deserving of it. This made me pretty sure that this was going to be something greatly amusing. I was not, however, prepared for the awesomeness of what it was. For the past few years, we have been talking about starting a brewpub called Goats & Rabbits. The Goats and the Rabbits were the two political factions in old time Kansas City politics. Over the past several months, the conversation about starting the restaurant has become much more serious as Sam and Jean are making plans to come to Kansas City. It is really getting exciting. And on opening day of that restaurant that will be made, I will be wearing this:

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3. Setting the Table for Company – After we came home from our trip to Italy, Dan and I both agreed that we should be more conscious about how we eat. One of the things that we talked about was sitting at the table for meals. As the kids left, it became more routine to sit in the living room and eat. We have gotten somewhat better at that, but there is still work to do. What is great about Dan and me sitting at the table is the same thing that becomes even better when the number of people at the table expands. I love setting the table for a meal. I like figuring out what dishes will be needed. I like setting down the plates, silverware and glasses. I like putting together a centerpiece and ironing the tablecloth and napkins. Saturday night we hosted our dinner club, so I got to get my table-setting jones met. Prettiness ensued.

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4. Good books – I finished two different, but both great books this week. Sam recommended Mission Street Food, particularly for the philosophy that they take regarding business philanthropy. The book is an autobiography of their restaurants that started from a food truck night in San Francisco and grew to have a massive cult following. The other book was the novel, Salvage The Bones by Jesslyn Ward. This is the story of a family in Louisiana dealing with alcoholism, poverty, teenage pregnancy, and cruelty – as Hurricane Katrina is coming in. This was my gym book and as my treadmill time ended on Friday, I had about a chapter left. I reset the time and went to the end. It is quite stunning story telling. She manages to get such sweetness in the midst of some really pretty horrible scenes. It was definitely worth extra time on the treadmill.

5. Good Moods – There are just those days when there is nothing special, but it just feels great to be who you are; where you are. I had one of those days on Friday. I should have been feeling a little badly because I didn’t get any book work done, but I didn’t. I just reveled in the moments of the day. I read, exercised, made lists, grocery shopped, organized … Nothing special, but very special.

I hope all of us have some great mood days ahead of us!

 

Last Week’s Good Things

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There was one day last week that I had gotten home late and I put a Lean Cuisine in the microwave for my dinner. Dan called me right when I was about to start eating. He was in Florida and had just had dinner along the ocean. As I talked to him, I looked out the window and noticed it was snowing. That wasn’t cool, but, despite that unfortunate scenario, the week did hold some very good things.

Sharon Jones, Superstar – Saturday night we went into Lawrence for dinner and a concert. It was the first time I have been in Liberty Hall right along Mass Street in downtown Lawrence. It is a gem! The opening act, Valerie June, was really wonderful. So much so that J & M made plans to go to Springfield on Monday to see her again. And then there was Sharon Jones. This woman is a few months from finishing her treatment for pancreatic cancer and she has the almost bald head to show it. That woman put on one of the most amazing shows with more energy than I have mustered in several days combined. I can’t even choose what was my favorite, but this performance that I recorded on my phone (note: I am not good at this and I am short) is stellar. “Get Up and Get Out” refers typically to dude troubles. Saturday night she turned it around and it was cancer she was addressing herself to. Woman is amazing.

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Seven Habits – There is a group of us at work reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.Each month we do a chapter. Last week it was Habit 2 – Begin with the End in Mind. Stephen Covey, the book’s author describes how by being in control of our own mission, we can basically be a better person. He describes how when people let other people or things control them, they are in a tenuous position. However, if one is centered on principles, there is always guidance. This book was written more than twenty years ago and it is just timeless in its advice. It is a pleasure to visit this again and try to do more of the things I should have done other times I read it.

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Nighthawk article in the New Yorker – I have a habit of not reading The New Yorker intact. Every so often, I go through our piles and I pull out articles I want to read. I then staple those into articles and put them into yet, another pile. They are there to grab. Last week I picked up an article from 2012. Unfortunately, I can’t link to it, but it really was a treat to read. The essay was in the food issue amidst a variety of great food writing. Tony Earley was the writer – someone I knew from a book he read called Jim the Boy. The article describes  the writer going to college as a guy who never had to take care of himself. During an evolutionary journey, he learns to cook some basic things and to understand the satisfaction of that. There was one passage that I loved: “Belatedly, I understood that the sustenance contained in food you cook for yourself is almost biological, and that sometimes, what makes a fried-bologna-and-onion sandwich so delicious has nothing to do with the bologna or the onion.” That is the pleasure of cooking.

Family texting – With Dan out of town and Ali on vacation, there was a lot of mobile device communication going on. Every now and then, there would be a text chain that involved the whole family. Our chatter may not always be the most appropriate, but it almost always makes me laugh and appreciative of my luck to be part of this group.

Things that happened at work – I don’t talk about work too much on my blog, but good things do add up and I want to recognize them. Here were a few from this week! Some of my co-workers joined me in a volunteering for a new event that is happening. I walked down the hallway in the hospital, and there was a little guy in a helmet running in circles and chortling as if he was doing the most fun thing in the world. It was joyous to watch. “Good mornings” and “good nights” as people walk by my door or make an effort to pop their head in. Someone bringing good soap in. Being brought into discussions because they want my opinion. Sometimes it is the smallest thing that means the most.

I hope anyone who reads this takes the time to find their own good things! They are out there!

Last Week’s Good Things

Feb23Winter does not seem to want to let go. Saturday’s warnings of ice and snow did not produce as mightily as forecast, but it was doomy and gloomy enough that we postponed our Mardi Gras party. Despite more cold days and icy streets, there were many good things that came my way last week. Here are a few of them.

1. 24 Hours of Happy – I haven’t seen Despicable Me, so I wasn’t aware of Pharrell’s song, Happy that is part of the movie. I heard the song when I was listening to an NPR podcast highlighting TED talks that dealt with happiness. The host noted that listeners should do themselves a favor by finding it and watching it. I watched the video and it was fun. It is an infectious, upbeat song with very happy dancing. The best, however, was that it led me to another website. 24 Hours of Happy is one of those websites that I will go back to. No matter what time you pull it up, you get a video of someone singing and dancing to the song at around the same time you are looking at it. It is pretty darn joyous!

2. Catching up for the Oscars – I was pretty behind on my watching, but I made up some ground last week – just in time for the show. We went to the theater to see all of the animated shorts. There were some good ones, but perhaps the best part was the talking giraffe and ostrich who dialogued between films. Who doesn’t like talking animals – especially giraffes and ostriches? I also watched Gravity, Twelve Years a Slave, and Dallas Buyers Club. It was a good year for movies. I also beat Dan in our Oscar picking challenge!

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3. Ali in Disney World – When the kids were in grade school, we took a trip to Disney World. We didn’t do vacations often, so it was pretty special. Last week, Ali and Jose left for a trip to Disney World. It was so great to hear how excited she was as the time approached. Receiving photos of them around the park has been the best! It is a pretty magical place!

4. Being an Observer – For a work project, I sat in on a discussion conducted in a language that I don’t speak. The group of about a dozen men and women, spent an hour discussing something that meant a great deal to all of them. It was such a lovely experience for me. Even without knowing what they were saying, the body language, the tone, the emotion, all made me understand. It provided me a good lesson in communication.

5. Left-overs – When we decided to postpone our Mardi Gras party, we were able to freeze most of our fixings, but the red beans are going to be remade. I will share them with my work friends tomorrow, and we have had a few meals of them over the past few days – there were a lot of beans! On Saturday, when our cancellation went out, it noted that if anyone wanted beans, they could bring a container on by and pick some up. Barb decided to do that. She came by, sat and chatted, filled her container, and off she went. It was sweet.

I hope that all of you had a good week and your new one is wonderful.