Good Things – Special Wedding Edition

wedding weelI am still getting used to the fact that Sam is married. A couple weeks ago, over the course of a few days in New York City, we had a whirlwind of activity, but the actual wedding was over in a few blinks of the eye. That was perfect for Sam and Jean. It felt like who they are and what they wanted. And now they enter into their new phase of life as do Dan and I. We have a new daughter that we love dearly. We work to find ways to show our love and support for them as individuals and as a couple. What a dear thing a happy wedding is. While this is titled “Good Things,” I think that there should be another made up word for when something happens that seems better than good; happier than happy. Whatever that is, that was our time in New York City. Here are a few highlights

Having Ali and Jose there – We have kind of a little, but geographically spread-out family. Having all of us together is infrequent and special. We got into NYC on Thursday afternoon from KC, and Ali and Jose came in from NOLA. We pulled up to our hotel in our cab and literally, right behind us, pulled a cab with Ali and Jose. Their being there during their own wedding prep time was so wonderful. And, Jose showing up to the wedding in pink pants and bowtie – all southern gentlemanly – is a memory that I won’t forget.

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Meeting Jean’s parents – Meeting your almost daughter-in-law’s parents hours before a wedding could make for some nervousness, but that did not feel like the case at all. Despite all of the weather that threatened, the Adamoski’s from Chicago and the Ryan’s from Kansas City arrived in New York City and got to see their children get married. We met Jean’s mom and dad at the very cool, Jimmy’s No. 43 in the East Village. The basement bar was cozy and fantastically cool. The bartender was memorable. And Jean’s parents arrived with hugs and welcome. It’s hard not to like people who are behind the woman that my son adores, and people who also seem to think that Sam is pretty great.

Parent dinner – The night before the wedding, the couple and the parents had dinner at Momofuku Ssam. Our meal was the rib-eye dinner which was comprised of a cow-size ribeye steak, done perfectly and sliced on a platter, french fries that seemed to be fried to a ethereal crispness and Caeser salad that we found pleasure in just picking up dressed leaves and eating. Of course, our meal went beyond the stated meal. There was a platter of multiple different kinds of hams, veggies, bubblies, and we finished off with a cake that was covered with popcorn. For part of the night, Sam came over and sat next to me. I told him how happy I was. He told me how happy he is. Yep.

The Wedding – Everyone should spend a day or two hanging out at the NYC marriage bureau. In the amount of time that we were there, we saw such a variety of couples come through that I just wanted more! Some came in bridal gowns and tuxes, some looked like they weren’t sure why they were there. Couples take a number and are called to different stages – completing the certificate, in the staging room, the ceremony itself. Sam and Jean arrived carrying doughnuts. Both had gold shoes and new wedding clothes. Jean’s was actually a combination of a lace top of her grandma’s and a skirt made by a best friend. They looked adorable and happy. The ceremony itself lasted less than five minutes but it included all of the necessary elements: vows, I do’s, rings, and a kiss. And just like that, our family has a new member.

Cooper-Hewitt – After the ceremony, most in attendance hopped on the subway up to upper Manhattan to go to the Cooper-Hewitt museum. This was probably my doings since there is a Maira Kalman exhibit that I wanted to see. It was my first time at this museum that is housed in a building that in itself is a museum. The Kalman exhibit was a room curated with unusual objects, beautifully displayed, and annotated in Maira Kalman’s distinctive style. The rest of the museum was full of curious tools, hands on design opportunities, fascinating videos, and so much more.

Wedding Dinner at Roberta’s – The staff at Roberta’s presented us with such delicious pizza and sides. Sitting at a long table watching the combined friends and family of the couple was heart-warming.

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Kinokuniya Bookstore – I had read about this bookstore a few months ago and did not let it go far from my radar. It is a Japanese bookstore located near Bryant Park and it is a wonderland for someone like me who love paper, pens, and fun stationary items. Dan’s enthusiasm to go was not as great as mine, but when he hit the door, he was sold. It was just so fun! There is a great selection of books – many with an art focus, but the downstairs level that is devoted to all things paper goods plus, was candy! I think we browsed for at least two hours. So fun!

The Party – The place was called Reciprocal Skateboards. It is in Greenwich Village. You enter into a shopspace lined with brightly colored skateboards. Around the corner in the other room are pinball machines. This was the party site on Saturday night and it was so much fun. There was beer and champagne that was cooled in a borrowed newspaper box from the street. There was a big bowl of quarters that Sam had to restock a few times. There were new people to talk to and get to see how Sam and Jean have been good friends and important people to many. There were toasts and tears and laughs. There were amazing steamed buns with pork belly from Momofuku. My heart garlands worked well and provided a good backdrop for the love that was abounding all night.

As I said, it was a whirlwind (I didn’t even mention going to the Natural History Museum for the first time, the guys in the wine store who gave us three free bottles of wine, or the poutine with smoked meat!) and I feel like I am still getting resettled. Our trip home was delayed a day so my plan for my off day did not work last week, so this is my off day to write and take care of some of these things that I have been thinking on.

Next month we will make a trip and do this in a different way with Ali and Jose. I know how lucky we are.

Last Week’s Good Things

weekLast week was birthday week. I am still a person who likes the idea of birthday celebrations, so I enjoyed the special things that came my way as part of that. Here are some of the good things that happened during birthday fest week.

Resolution making – I always give myself until my birthday to put together resolutions. I got help this year from a posting that went up on Brain Pickings at the beginning of the year that offered guidance on resolutions. In fact, I kind of lifted my resolutions directly from it. Thanks to Popforms and their Spark Notebook plan, I also worked on a theme for a year. My resolutions are rather broad and my theme is a good daily guide. For my new year, I resolve to walk and be more present, make my life wide, keep a diary, cultivate true friendship, and define myself. My theme is to create myself daily. Every day is a new adventure, and my theme is a good reminder.

my fathers dragonBaby Shower Book Club – I have written about our book club before, but last week was a first for our group. We had a book club baby shower! Everyone brought a favorite read aloud as a gift for Jim and Micaela. As they opened each gift, the giver explained why they made the choice. It was so much fun to see some old favorites and also to be introduced to some new ones. Dan picked Redwall which is a great adventure book that  Dan read to the kids. I picked the My Father’s Dragon Series. This series is one of my all time favorites that I read to the kids. If you haven’t read these books, I would highly recommend them. They recount the adventures of Elmer Elevator and a baby dragon that he runs away to rescue. It is all very fantastical and fun.

bugNew Bumper Sticker – I have had my cute little beetle for about eight years now, and it still makes me smile. Shortly after we bought it, we were in Arkansas and I bought a bumper sticker. It was Bob Marley with the quotation “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.” While I still love that sentiment, Bob had gotten pretty faded over the years. As part of my birthday fest, Dan took me to the fun It’s A Beautiful Day shop and I picked out a new sticker. On Saturday, I washed that dirty car and put on its new message. It is a quotation from the Dalai Lama – “Choose to be optimistic … it feels better.”

jjBirthday celebration – The messages on Facebook, calls from the kids, a birthday card with sweet messages from my work team, tulips left on my porch all went into making my day a very nice one. Aside from from very pretty cologne, Dan also got me the world best ice scraper. I am very excited about that as I have never been happy with any ice scraper. If it pans out, it will probably show up as its own “good thing.” We also had a great dinner at the new JJs, where a Restaurant Week deal got me Mushroom toast, Chicken Marsala, and Chocolate Mousse for $33. I started my new year well.

bob mankoffHow About Never, Is Never Good for You? – I got this book for Christmas and got it finished last week. If you like New Yorker cartoons, this book is a must read. Bob Mankoff, who is the cartoon editor there, is a funny guy, and this book is a charming journey through the history of New Yorker cartoon, and how and why cartoons get selected.

That was my week. I hope that your week was also filled with good things.

Last Week’s Good Things

photo (1)My sense is that I am still getting the feel of the new year. January is always like that. It isn’t like January 1 hits and you have your plan for the year all set. You are still in recovery stage from the holidays and it is cold and dark. Nevertheless, amidst some pretty terrible things that happened in our world, my days held good things and here were a few that I noted down last week.

garlandMaking Garlands – In an email message from Sam, he mentioned that he and Jean wondered if I would make some heart garlands for their wedding celebration party. A couple years ago, I had seen on Pinterest or somewhere where you took punchout hearts and string them on a ribbon to make a garland. I made them and sent one to Sam and Ali. Sweetly, I remember visiting Sam several months later and seeing it still hanging up. Now, he tells me it is hanging in their bedroom. Well, that made my own heart melty, and I set to making yards of garlands.

suitWedding Suit IMing – Another impending wedding good thing was that on Saturday Sam sent several instant messages and pictures while he was shopping for his wedding suit and accessories. Say what you will about how technology will be our downfall (some people say that, right?), but I am all for being able to instantly see my boy picking out wedding clothes hundreds of miles away.

#JeSuisCharlie – Speaking of technology, there was the #JeSuisCharlie flood that came after the awfulness in Paris. Being able to type a few characters on social media gave people across the world a means to connect; to say I’m with you; to say I care. It is small, but it is something. You wish for more joyful ways for the world to connect, but we are not always so lucky.

boseCooking and Listening to Music – A pleasure in my life is listening to music while I am in the kitchen. I have gotten a little more picky about how music sounds, andI so  appreciate it when the sound is quality. My listening caliber got a boost when Ali and Jose got us a sweet Bose wireless speaker for Christmas. Last Friday I was tooling around the kitchen making dinner, enjoying a glass of wine, and listening to some Jason Isbell. It was so beautiful I had to take a pause to soak it in.

deskGetting back to my desk – Last Friday was the first one in a long time where I got to sit down at my desk and do a little creative work. Our Christmas tree kind of blocked it for a few weeks, and then there was holiday dishevelment in general. When I sat down last Friday, I didn’t do much, but it was fun to just play around a little. I have some fun new markers, so I got to do some arty stuff with pretty colors. We bought this desk at a little neighborhood shop. It belonged to the owner’s mother and he was using his store to display and sell off a few of her things. Since we got it, it has moved around a little, but when it landed in our library room, it felt at home. It has never been declared my desk, but obviously I have taken it over. Sitting in its messy comfort is the definition of a good thing.

Keep your good things close!

Last Week’s Good Things

new yearThe first week of the new year has turned bitingly cold in the Midwest. If it was not redundant, I would sing good praises of fleece-lined leggings as a good thing as I am wearing them all of the time. Alas, since I try not to repeat myself in my noting of good things, I will just sneak them into the opening paragraph. Sneaky of me. I do love them that much. Aside from the leggings, here are other things that were good parts of last week.

things1. The game Things – Have you played this one? It is a wooden box full of cards – each with a different prompt for a category. There is stuff like, “things that make you burp” “things that bump in the night” … The dealer circulates among the players. The dealer picks a card, announces the category, and everyone has write on a piece of paper their entry into that category. Then the dealer has to guess who wrote what. The night before they left town last week, we played Things with friends and Ali and Jose. As usual, as the night goes on, (and perhaps the glasses of wine multiply), the entries became funnier and funnier. Themes arise that are oftentimes inappropriate, but quite amusing.

2. Fake calligraphy and Laurel wreath – while I want to be a pretty writer and a competent drawer, I am very much in the Ed Emberley club. I need step by step instructions on how to do things. Last week, I found The Postman’s Knock website. I have not delved too deeply into it yet, but, so far, she has taught me how to draw a multitude of laurel wreaths (of course, each time I need to return for instructions), and how to do fake calligraphy. Good indeed!

3. Dan’s enthusiasm for the new year – When someone you live with is enthusiastic about things, it is hard not to get the bug too. Dan woke up on January 1 raring to go. We even made a trip to Office Max for organizational supplies! I too am excited about a new start of the calendar and the potential the year holds, but being able to ride the enthusiasm with a partner is a great thing.

veggie4. New Eating Plan – This kind of goes with the one above, but as part of our new year plan, Dan and I have started a new eating routine that is kind of based on the Primal plan. Basically, it is low carbs, lots of protein, and don’t worry about fat. We do manage to fit some carbs in, but, so far, what we are eating has fit the plan pretty well. On New Year’s Day, I roasted up beets, carrots, sweet potatoes and turnips. We have enjoyed that bounty over the last several days. I hope that I will be saying at year’s end that I have stuck with this plan – other than for excursions off the grid for special occasions. I think there is sound logic behind it, it makes me feel better about what I am eating, the food tastes good – all good things!

hoboo5. My New Planner!! – There is really nothing better about a new year than a new planner. Am I right? One of my loves is all manner office supplies and papery goods. I follow several blogs that have as their content, what their planner looks like. My own blog almost always features a picture of what I call my Logbook. During the year, I read several reviews of the Hobonichi planner from Japan. The reviews note that  the paper is good and the design is great. There is only one distributor in the US that I could find, and I bought one a couple months ago. It turned out not to be the one that I expected (I was thinking that I was getting the bigger version), but I can deal with this. I am still working on how I document in the pages, but I do love it. Who knows! I might become one of those planner exposers.

Anyway – those were a few of my good things last week. How about you?

Last Week’s Good Things

notebookThis is my thirty-first good things post during 2014. With these posts, I try to take time to reflect on the things that have crossed my life during the past days that have made me stop and notice how those things made me feel good or happy or better. The list has not been as consistent as I wanted, but it has always been on my mind as I go through each week.

Over the last weeks, here are a few of my good things:

IMG_2329Family time – Ali, Jose and Banjo arrived in Kansas City last week. Their presence in the house has been delightful. With both kids living miles away, any time that we get to spend with them is such a treat. We have eaten well, played some games, visited with loved ones, had a doggie heater in bed with us each night. It will be hard to have them drive away tomorrow, but so grateful that we got this week! 

IMG_2262Gifts for friends – It is kind of weird to choose gifts that I gave as a good thing, but this was just so much fun to do. When I was thinking of what to give some workmates for the holidays, I had a thought. Why not see if I could find old postcards of downtown KC where our hospital now sits? It was so fun to rummage through boxes of old cards in antique shops and peruse eBay for matches to my search. Having multiple pictures of our town from many decades was so interesting to look through. Some of the cards had messages between family and friends during their travels through our city. These items of correspondence were precious enough to have been kept year after year until its owner let it go in some way or another – but not in the trash.

Holiday deliveries – They get a bad rap from some, but last week, brown trucks, white trucks and delivery vans pulled up to our house multiple times to deliver holiday gifts or cards to the house. Oftentimes, they made the extra effort to put packages safely on our back porch. I also stood in line to mail a package and, though the line was long, I was greeted warmly and assured that my delivery would be on time. To me, these services are fantastic, and those holiday cancellations were pretty awesomely cute!

midwifeCall the Midwife – It has been awhile since I have gotten pulled in to a television series. We seem to be watching fewer programs lately, and tend to turn the set on for random cooking shows or sports. Recently, however, we had more time and because of a remembered recommendation, we watched the first episode of Call the Midwife. This is a BBC series about a group of young midwives practicing in London in the late 1950s. It is wonderful! The characters are interestingly layered, the story lines are poignant and compelling, and it is pretty to look at. We are through Season 1 and into number 2 thanks to Netflix. Really good television!

IMG_2430Wedding Preparations – Over the last weeks we have talked with Sam about plans for his and Jean’s wedding coming together. I also got to sit with Ali last week and address and stamp invitations.

As 2014 winds down and we all tend to reflect back and hope forward, I continue to want to make catching good things a part of each day. Happy new year to anyone reading, and may your year ahead be great!

Last Week’s Good Things

weekIt still does not seem right to me that next week is Christmas. It is true that holidays have a whole different flavor when you do not have kids in the house. The excitement of the pending arrival of all things holiday are tempered when you have normal days and evenings that are not peppered with holiday doings and wishings and hopings of little ones. That is kind of holiday celebrating gigantified. Last week,  I tried to keep my own wishings and hopings continuing, and my celebration of the good things strong! Here were some of the things that caught my attention!

cookieMary Sue Milliken’s Border Grill Sugar Cookies – On some previous season of Top Chef Masters, Mary Sue Milliken always stands out as a good chef and a nice person. Good combination! Her name caught my eye in a sugar cookie recipe that uses crumbled potato chips. The salty addition to any dessert is a good thing for me. I made these cookies for a friend gathering along with another pretty great recipe for lemon ricotta bars. I have convinced myself that cookies are the ultimate dessert. They are compact, not too messy, flavorful, and not horrendously unhealthy in a reasonable cookie portion!

ginGin – “Gin” probably sounds a little bad, but the story behind it is nice. Dan’s Rotary Club does monthly scotch tastings, but occasionally they mix it up. This month, the mixing was a gin tasting which we held at our house. Prior to a few months ago, I was not aware that you can sip gin. There are varieties that are flavored such that they are more like sippers than mixers. While the turnout was light, the company was extremely wonderful. We sat around, ate Dan’s jambalaya, and told stories old and new. We tasted some gin and ended the night feeling happy.

gingerHappy Gingerbread Day – As I have written before, my sister and I usually have at least a text message a day. On Friday, she messaged me “Happy Gingerbread Day!” That is one of her things. She has a day for every day! Well, it so happened that on Gingerbread day I was walking home and stopped by McClain’s Bakery down the street. I am embarrassed that I have never stepped foot in that delightful space, even though it is so close to my house. I wanted a cup of coffee, but there in the counter were some very delicious looking gingerbread cookies. I bought one, and that afternoon gave it to a friend that I was meeting for a glass of wine. It was a happy gingerbread day

DSCF7624We have a wedding date – Sam and Jean confirmed the date for their wedding! How happy that is!

cbtlOut little coffee machine – When we went to Italy a couple years ago, we stayed in an apartment in Venice that had a little coffee machine. When we came home, we bought one of our own. It is not hipster of fancy or anything like that. But, when I want  a cup of coffee in the afternoon, just turning it on makes me think of Italy and what an unbelievable trip of a lifetime that was! To get a cup of espresso and a wonderful flood of memories is pretty great.

Whether you are reading this for the first time or as a regular, I want to thank all of you. While I enjoy tracking the good things that come my way, knowing that others may like what I write, adds a bit of extra good that I can’t help but appreciate.

Next week we will have very good visitors, so my posting will be iffy. Wishing you the merriest of holidays and many good things!

Last Week’s Good Things

weekThe weeks of 2014 are dwindling to nothing. There are many things that I promised myself that I would accomplish this year that I have not. There are some things that I pulled off this year that I am more than proud of. One thing that I have almost always stayed true to during this year is to pay attention to the good things that show up in bold or quiet ways during my days. Last week, I had more than my fair share so I have had to do some ranking to get it down to five to write about. I hope that anyone reading this finds goodness throughout your days.

In no particular order, here are some of my good things from last week:

  1. Kappa Kappa Gamma Holiday Homes tour – I kind of love to see how other people decorate for the holidays, so the idea of going into a stranger’s house to see what they have going on, always kind of appeals to me. Because this year, the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority holiday home tour benefited Dan’s organization, it was a good opportunity to buy tickets and go look at some pretty houses. The four houses that were on the tour ranged from really nice to wowza. What was best about each home, however, was that each felt like a home. There were pictures of happy family members, personal touches to the decorating that spoke more to passion than designer labels (lots of KU love going on!), and you could envision families living and having fun in each. I wondered how Dan would react to the tour as it is not really his thing, but he caught the same thing I did. How can you not react positively to an event that raises money for good causes, is staffed by friendly and helpful volunteers, and you get to see some loveliness?goat
  2. The Goat – On Saturday we went out on a cold, gray day to get our Christmas tree. We typically go to Soil Service Garden Center where the friendly staff is ever present. Our tree criteria are pretty narrow since we have a small space, and I am picky about the kind of tree. We pretty much found our tree immediately, but I felt the need to scope out the whole area. It was in doing this that Dan laid eyes on the goat. It was standing out under a shelter among other metal animals and whatnots. As soon as Dan saw him, he was in love. He tried to talk himself out of it, but we both knew that goat was coming home with us. I am still not sure why, but goodness that goat is funny. He has been in our backyard, he then showed up in the house. He has been up in the chair looking out the window, and is now poised at our french doors guarding us from all. We think he name is Gus.
  3. Transition clinic – Over three years ago, I started working on a project where we wanted to find out what survivors of childhood cancer need as they become adults. What we thought we knew, and what we confirmed is that taking care of themselves is difficult when caregivers don’t necessarily know what the implications of your prior treatment is. Out of that little project has come friendships, publications, new colleagues, and finally, a clinic for survivors to transition into when they are ready to leave pediatrics. Last week, the newspaper did a great story on the new clinic and the work being done. While my part in this was miniscule, it made me so proud!

  4. adventAdvent Calendars – I don’t think I ever had an Advent Calendar growing up, but we had them for the kids as they were growing up. Once they went to college and settle away from home, I still tried to send them one each year. There is just something fun and exciting to opening up a surprise each day – even if it is just a new picture. This year when I ordered Advent Calendars for the kids, I ordered one for us. It makes me happy!
  5. Crossroads Academy Event – For the third year, we attended the Crossroads Academy Dream Big event. Crossroads is a wonderful charter school in the heart of downtown with a mission of bringing quality education to the urban center. To see the product of the work that the staff at the school  does, combined with the enthusiasm of the downtown core leaders, is darn exciting. Celebrating this while, at the same time, catching up with friends from many areas of my life, eating delicious plates from area chefs, and having a glass or two of wine, closed my work week on a very sweet note.

As I noted, there were many more things that stood out. Like Christmas stamps! Ali’s classroom’s Elf on the Shelf who the kids call Justin Bieber! Those lemon ricotta bars I made! So much!

Last Week’s Good Things

weekHoliday weekends bring free time to catch up on things that didn’t get done in the lead up to said holiday. This is a little outdated, but what can be wrong with reflecting on good things that came my way in the recent past?

fantastic-mr-fox-20100322013810854-000The Morning Fox – Nope. This does not refer to anything that has to do with the Fox network. What happened is that I stepped out my front door last week at about 5 AM. It was dark and cold and still. While I walked down the steps to fetch my papers, a beautiful full-grown fox came running down the middle of my street. It was so swift and pretty. The memory of it still is a thing of beauty. Wildlife in the middle of the city happens.

Bird-by-Bird-image1

Anne Lamott talkAnne Lamott was in town last week, talking about her new book, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace. Hearing her talk was a wonderful thing! I got to know Anne Lamott first via her book Bird by Bird. It is a wonderful book about being a writer, and writing, and life. Hearing her talk is just like reading her words. She exudes a comfort with herself that makes the space comfortable. She speaks off the cuff and with humor and grace. I love the life that the words she writes and she speaks hold. My favorite essay from Bird by Bird is the title one. In it she remembers her brother whining over a school project that he had to do about birds. He could see no way that he could possibly tackle such a project. Her dad gave him the how to lesson that always sticks with me when I have a big project that looks overwhelming in front of me. How can it get done? Bird by bird.

chrissieChrissie Hynde at the Uptown – This seems like forever ago, but it was officially last week. Dan won tickets to go see Chrissie Hynde perform at the Uptown. She is on a solo tour, but she is backed up by a super band. While I like the Pretenders, they aren’t among the bands I would put among my all time favorites, so seeing Chrissie was something I looked forward to, but I wasn’t over the moon excited about. Dan and I listened to her new album in our listening blog series this year, so I was ready for those songs. She did lots of those along with several Pretenders songs. I gotta say that I really loved this concert. Chrissie was charming in her banter with the audience and band, and her voice is amazing. I don’t know what it would sound like if you did a side by side of her singing thirty years ago, but I don’t think that she has lost anything. One interesting thing about the concert was a big warning that she did not want cell phone pictures taken during the concert. She explained later that the screens really mess with her eyes and she doesn’t like it. When the last number was about to start, she told people that they could use them. A sea of cell phone rose in the air. It was a fine example of give and take! She also writes charming and sweet Facebook tour updates (photo above from that).

Lunch with Friends – Some friends from out-of-town were here visiting other friends last weekend and we got to meet up with them for lunch. We met at BB’s Lawnside BBQ. Man! If you want to hang out on a Saturday afternoon, catch up with friends over a couple good beers and some smokey good meat, BB’s is hard to beat. We have been going there since it first opened in 1990. It has always been a place with good food, friendly staff, and great music. Lucky us!

A new tracker App – I have been trying to pay more attention to some lifestyle things and I found an App this week that I think may be an easy, manageable way to do this, and I can 86 my homemade Excel sheet. TrackNShare comes with some items built in for daily tracking – Happiness, stress, weather, sleep. You can then add other things you want to track and decide on what kind of scale you want to track them. For example, you can choose yes/no, severity scale, a number, a volume scale. It is easy and having it on my IPad and IPhone make it convenient to an extent that makes me not have too much of an excuse not to do it.

That’s some of my story from last week. This week – one in which thankfulness was the dominant theme – is filling up my pages. Thanks for reading and I hope that your good things are many.

Last Week’s Good Things

weekoOver the last couple weeks, I have glimpsed the reality that my life is going to be returning to its old normal where my work schedule is a little less high intensity. Looking back at last week’s noted good things, I appreciate that change and what it has brought back!

A day with no meetings and head for home at 5:00 – Last Monday, for the first time in months, I had no scheduled meetings on my calendar. I spent the day in my office, working on a multitude of things that continued to fill up my to do list while I wasn’t looking. During the day, I talked to people as they stopped by my office with questions or just to chat. I had lunch at lunch time. I left my office and got home before 6:00! There was something about that day that felt like a new beginning. The things that have been going on at work since early spring have been exciting and stressful and educational and fulfilling. However, to be finished with the bulk of those and be able to end the year catching up and preparing for 2015 seems lovely!

Great meal at Story – We celebrated a friend’s birthday last Sunday with a meal out at the wonderful Story in Prairie Village. I like good food and I like a good experience. The food part that night was top notch. They really seem to continue to get better and better. For me, the other, as important element of a good experience is when I feel that the server is taking time with the table that isn’t just because they have to. They seem to enjoy getting to know and make the table experience a good one. Our server, Kevin did just that. From the moment I sat down and he made his first appearance, I could tell this was going to be good. He was self-deprecating, knowledgeable, interested and interesting. He made what was an amazingly good food experience, an amazingly good dining experience. The thing is, this was a fancy restaurant where we spent a lot of money. I have had the same thing happen at much different venues. It doesn’t matter where it is. Showing me that enthusiasm makes its mark!

Hearing Rebecca Skloot Speak – When The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks came out a few years ago, I purchased it immediately. Rebecca Skloot had written a story of a woman who died of cancer, but who lives eternally because her cancer cells had a unique quality of being able to be grown in the laboratory – over and over again. This is a great story and by the number of books sold, it obviously is a story that other people want to read. Beyond being a good read, what this book was for me was validation that a medical story that weaves several different threads, can be fascinating. As I worked on my own weaving project, that was inspiring. Last week, I went to hear Rebecca give a talk at a local university. She was better than I even thought she would be. Coming out to begin her talk, she expressed her thanks for people being there and their support. Throughout her talk, she made a point to address the students in the audience. Her grace was present throughout a wonderful event.

Frank Bruni column “Gray hair and silver linings”Frank Bruni is one of my newspaper loves. Frank is a columnist for the New York Times and his columns are so often personal experiences that resonate with some larger issue. Last week he had a column titled Gray Hair and Silver Linings. The column starts out with him sitting in a waiting room and observing a woman and man getting to know each other over their battle scars of areas of skin cancer. He then goes on to discuss what it is to grow older – to enter a new phase of your life when experiences are not all new. It is an adjustment and it does not come without its regret. He brings it back to where I feel that I am now as a 54 year old woman. He writes: as you age “you finally appreciate the wisdom of  doing so and you come to recognize that among multiple vantage points and arrays of responses to a situation, you really can elect the more positive one.” That is a silver lining.

Saturday non-snow day – We had nothing to do on Saturday, and the weather forecast indicated that we might have some rough patches of weather. That gave us an excuse to stay in. Our staying in, however, did not mean we created our weekend Wunderlist of things to do. This was our serendipity free day. We didn’t tackle projects. I pretty much spent the whole day reading, taking a nap or two, and reading some more.

We are already half-way through a new week! Wow! I hope that there are many things already on your own good things list!

Last Week’s Good Things

weekI’ve noticed that many people are using the month of November – the month of Thanksgiving – to post a daily gratitude on Facebook. That is a really nice practice and one that really is a good personal exercise to pay attention. That has always been the intent of this “weekly” posting of my good things. When I don’t post good things, I am still trying to note them in my book. Even that, I don’t do as well as I should. The goal will always be to do better, because whether I am paying attention or not, there is a bunch of good stuff around.

Here are a few of mine that are nice to remember:

royalWatching the Royals from afar – I probably have talked about the Royals more than any other sports team I have written about in the past or in the future (this would be a different story if I was 12 year old me – passionate about the Buffalo Sabres). When the Royals made it to the World Series, love from around the country started to show up in social media. It was great to see friends, friends of friends, and perfect strangers lining up behind the fun ride that the Royals gave us. Probably the sweetest example of this for me was to see Sam and Jean sitting around with other Kansas City fans in an apartment in New York City watching the game – many in Royals regalia. Because of Facebook and Instagram, I got to see that as it happened. That made me happy.

06.RamHanuSitaRainReflectSita Sings the Blues – One of my co-workers shared a copy of a DVD of an animated film called Sita Sings the Blues with me. On my day off, I watched this awesomeness while I was  trying to get some other things done. Man! It was hard to get anything else done, because this is so good. It is really hard to capsulize this, but it is the film-makers retelling of  an Indian legend of Ramayama. The story leaps back and forth between a modern couple’s troubles and the legend of another troubled relationship. In the background, and incongruous, but surprisingly working soundtrack of Annette Hanshaw, a 1920s jazz singer, plays on. It sounds bizarre, and it is. It is also sparklingly beautiful with the colors of India drawn in exaggerated 2-D fashion. Once I had finished, I needed more, so I watched the film maker’s interview. It turns out, there is much more to the story dealing with the rights behind using the music. It is a great story in itself.

nutBoulevard Nutcracker – This is the time of year that Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City releases one of my favorite beers : Nutcracker Ale. It is a full flavored winter specialty ale that is fragrant and warm and delicious. Saturday, while preparing for a little gathering at our house, Dan came home from the store with a six-pack of the newly released 2014 Nutcracker Ale. Cheers!

Oil Pulling – This may be a weird one, but I want to put it out there in case someone may be interested, because it really has been a good thing for me. Oil pulling is a routine of rinsing your mouth with a natural oil for a period of about 15-20 minutes. The technique is an ancient one that has found a new following in the natural healing movement. I had never heard about it, but when I was talking with a friend about my continuing mouth issues, she mentioned this. The thought behind the practice is that it picks up and removes a lot of the nasties hiding out in your mouth. My experiment of trying this for about a week has been positive. My issues aren’t gone, but between this and my other routine, I am feeling like I am at least holding steady.

fallWalking in Fall Leaves – I probably have noted this one before, but walking through beautifully colored autumn leaves that have fallen and are covering the sidewalks is one of my favorite things! I have been able to enjoy that a bunch lately.

Keep looking for your good things; I will too.