Gratitude

Thursday Gratitude

I have a lot to be grateful for:

  • Warmer weather, went for a walk without a coat at lunch!
  • Cheese. I am very grateful that I am not lactose intolerant. Mmmm. cheese.
  • My husband baked brownies and made whipped cream to go with them, yum!
  • A healthier relationship with money than I used to have; I’m much more willing to spend money on things for myself than I used to be. This is good! I don’t want to be the stereotypical miser eating a can of beans heated on the radiator while my mattress is stuffed with money. I can afford nice clothes and good food. I should buy them!
  • It makes me strangely happy that our lamp post out front is now working. It’s not worked since we moved in 17 years ago! Grateful to my sister-in-law for the recommendation of an electrician. He was great, very friendly too. We also replaced the ugly fixture I’ve hated for 17 years on the side of our house with a pretty new one. Yay! Good bye, rusted utility lamp, hello pretty carriage lamp!
  • Candice in my lap while I work ❤
  • The many perks of working from home
  • I really do have a very nice home. This is a great house and we’ve managed to do many small improvements to it.
  • How much Mother’s Day doesn’t affect me the way it used to. It’s funny noticing the absence of anxiety, but it’s a wonderful thing. A freedom.
  • The sound of lawnmowers and the smell of fresh cut grass
  • My spring allergies are so much better than they used to be! The shots are working, yay.

Life

Mother’s Day

My mother is the sort of mother who would abandon a box of kittens in the woods to die.

My mother is the sort of mother who would kick the dog out of the car in a convenient store parking lot and drive off, then tell us that the dog ran away (forgetting we were in the car when she did it.)

My mother was the sort of mother you hid your Halloween candy from, because she would take it and eat it all herself.

My mother is the sort of mother who would leave her children locked in a hot car in a parking lot for an hour while she got her hair done.

My mother is the sort of mother who would go to a restaurant for dinner, leaving her starving children home alone trying to decide if we would get sick if we ate our crayons. Having another glass of water, because that was all there was to fill the emptiness.

My mother is the sort of mother who would whisper “I hate you” in the dark.

For years I hated Mother’s Day. The annual reminder (with so much advertising!) of something I never had in my life.

But then, my Dad re-married and his new wife, Tina, was amazing. Loving, smart, fun… I cannot list her virtues enough. I just wish he’d met her earlier. And then soon after I got married and I had a great mother-in-law, Eleanor, and finally, finally I had mothers worth celebrating in my life. Both Tina and Eleanor passed away, sadly, so that joy was brief. But my eyes have changed. This day is not for the woman who birthed me. It is for all the wonderful mothers I know. Mothers like Tina and Eleanor were. Mothers like my friends Robin, Dorothy, Seadna, Serena, Katy, Mary-Beth and Monica… I know so many, I can’t list them all!

Now I celebrate Mother’s day by honoring them. The good parents out there, raising amazing kids.

I love you. Thank you.

Gratitude · Life

Things I love about Working From Home

  1. When the weather is horrible… I don’t have to go out into it!
  2. The toilet paper and hand soap is far superior to that at the office, and the specific brand I prefer!
  3. There is always a clean, convenient, free bathroom. (Bonus for two bathrooms and two people in the house! Did I mention the bidet? I love the bidet. There is no bidet at the office.) No fear of the “Will I make it to the building?” if a potty emergency arises on the commute. (No love for my aging gastrointestinal system.)
  4. Saving money on gas and parking, and wear and tear on the automobile.
  5. Having a cat sleeping in my lap during my morning meeting
  6. General access to cats. Major bonus.
  7. Shorter commute means I can sleep in an extra half hour!
  8. Wearing funky and fun socks that don’t match my outfit
  9. The ability to take a nap at lunch time
  10. No waiting in lines to get lunch
  11. No one interrupting me to ask how to use the copier or where is Dr. V? he’s not in his office?
  12. Never going to the wrong conference room for a meeting!
  13. Husband bringing me a cup of coffee in the middle of a meeting.
  14. A lot less conspicuous when I try to get my 250 steps each hour. If I’m in a meeting I just shut off the camera for a minute while I walk in place at my desk. No worries of people looking at me wondering why I’m walking around the halls, heh.
  15. No rush hour traffic!!!

Gratitude

Thursday Gratitude

As always, I have much to be grateful for.

  • Archway dutch cocoa cookies.
  • Coffee, through which all things are possible
  • The husband successfully installed his mailbox and it looks nice 🙂
  • Amy kitty let me rub her belly this morning
  • Went on a nice walk this morning, I do like my morning walks. The birds chirping and general quiet of the morning in the neighborhood is lovely.
  • My new jacket. I’ve been wearing it a lot this week
  • We scheduled a date to get together with friends for a backyard socially-distanced chat. It’s amazing how good that feels. Yay vaccination! Yay warmer weather!
  • Candice kitty just jumped up into my lap and is purring away. Major perk of working from home!
  • Being able to work from home and its many perks! I took a nap on my lunch break. It was lovely.
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Updates

House Update:

This weekend I hung up my hammock! yay! and we put out the garden gnomes which the husband faithfully re-painted. They are colorful and happy (though of course it rained the next day. Husband is unhappy his gnomes got rained on immediately.)

The husband is currently putting up the mailbox he bought months and months ago. He’s been rather mailbox obsessed since we moved in. He got a mailbox on our little front stoop and boarded over the mail slot in the front door shortly after we moved in, but he’s never been perfectly happy with it. I hope this new one satisfies him!

We went to the garden center this weekend and bought plants! Hubby is thinking of leaving them in the garage another few days; the temperature is to drop into the 40s tomorrow, too close to freezing. And we must discuss the final placement of which flowers, naturally. Still no replacement for the front flower bed urn which is currently a cat bed in the basement.

We have an electrician coming in the next week to change out the light on our garage and hopefully figure out why the lamp post in the front yard doesn’t work. 🙂 Plus a few other small things since he’ll be here (changing a light switch in the living room, fixing the on/off switch in the basement, adding an outdoor plug.) I’m excited, I think the new lights will be pretty and I’ve wanted that front yard lamp fixed since we moved in!

Costuming Update:

I finished the gray circle skirt! It only took forever, heh. My fault for deciding to hand finish a full circle hem on a skirt that long! The hem does lay beautifully though. I wore the skirt yesterday and I am quite pleased with it! (and the matching mask I made months ago!) I’m thinking this will be a cool weather wardrobe staple going forward.

Knitting Update:

I’m on row 141 (of 150) of this lace shawl. It’s a circular shawl so each row is longer than the previous and each row is super slow right now. Impatient to end and get on to a new project!

Life

Hocking Hills Vacation

This has been the longest my husband and I have gone without a trip somewhere since we have been married. My friends, Ann and Jason, posted about a trip to Hocking Hills State Park a few years ago and as they have sense and good taste I latched on to it as a possibility. The very best use of Facebook, in my experience, has been references for where to spend your money. I posted asking for advice for a nice, socially distant, pandemic-friendly vacation. My friend Gwydion suggested a cabin he had rented there. We booked the same cabin!

I was excited and nervous. We were so out of the habit of travel; it was a simple two night stay and I was quite stressed about packing! Heh. We both over-packed and under-packed. We forgot sunscreen, and the fact that the sun is cruel when driving, heh. I should have brought a straw hat. Ah well, we had most of the important things! I did end up wearing the spare shirt I brought and using both swimsuits. Though the warm jacket and extra sweater went completely unused. I did know the weather report said 80 degrees on Tuesday, but one never trusts, eh?

The drive down was not great; we did stop for coffee and a doughnut in Ashland (and changed drivers, I took the first leg and hubby drove the rest of the way down. I’m the better navigator.) Thankfully our GPS worked the whole way; though I had printed directions too, just in case. We were a bit disturbed by the number of “Trump” signs and flags when we got south of Columbus. Definitely made us feel unwelcome and less likely to suggest this vacation to others.

When we got to the cabin itself, the “Birdsong” cabin of “Journey Ridge Cabins” we were pleased. It was small and at the end of the road. On the table as we entered was a hard-surfaces cleaning wipe next to the welcome message. (Yay! Pandemic friendly.) I wiped down all the surfaces while husband moved the car (he didn’t like it in the spot by the cabin because the ground was sloped and moved it down by the fire pit.) We explored the area around the cabin a bit; there was a (mostly over-grown) trail. Hubby grilled burgers and after a nice dinner on the cabin’s back porch, we planned the next day and took a soak in the hot tub. A very pleasant evening!

Tuesday I got up bright and early and anxious to get going! My poor husband, I practically pushed him out the door! heh. (I did like having my morning coffee on the porch with the woods and bird song.) We did have a pair of cardinals visit the cabin’s bird feeder, and one squirrel.

We started with Ash Cave; which was one of the closer parks. It was quite impressive! A big, open half-dome. There were a lot of other tourists, so good photos were difficult, but it was very pretty. At the top of the trail we had a choice; return to the parking lot or take the “two miles to Cedar Falls” trail… we hesitated… a fellow tourist said “It’s beautiful! Worth the walk!” so we said OK! and headed off to Cedar Falls.

Two miles is farther than we thought.

We are out of shape.

We did make to to Cedar Falls, and it was beautiful! Peaceful and lovely, I just wish we’d driven there, heh. The walk back seemed faster than the walk there, thankfully, but we were quite tired. I really wanted to see more parks though! So we drove next to Old Man’s Cave.

Old Man’s Cave is apparently the big tourist destination; it had a huge parking lot and visitor center. (the visitor center was closed, but we were able to buy a bottle of Gatorade at a vending machine. We had forgot to bring water bottles and it was needed!) And it was a lovely park, I’m glad that it wasn’t too crowded.

After Old Man’s Cave…. hubby said we should go back to the cabin, and he was right, we were both exhausted. We put in over 20,000 steps! Showers, changes of clothes (we were both quite sweaty! it was an unseasonably warm day!) some hot dogs on the grill for a late lunch; a nap, a soak in the hot tub, and then hamburgers for dinner. Hee. What varied cuisine we planed, eh? I’m glad I remembered to pack lettuce and tomato, but I forgot the mayonnaise. Alas. We finished the evening with another soak in hot tub, a movie and general relaxation.

Wednesday was check out day. We packed up our belongings, tidied the cabin. Had a nice breakfast and hit the road to visit more parks. I picked Conckel’s Hallow Nature Preserve. There were two trails; a rim trail along the cliff’s edge, and a gully trail. The rim trail was 2 miles (oh no, not that again!) but I thought it would be the prettier trail. I screwed my fear-of-heights courage to the sticking place and we went up the stairs to the rim! It was glorious. Photos didn’t do it justice, very beautiful and quiet. I was terrified most of the trail and moved very slowly and carefully. Funny; my husband had something like 87 minutes of aerobic steps on his fit bit as we reached the end of the trail and I only had 15 minutes. Heh. I think I burned more calories though as I stepped slowly and carefully along! (at the same speed as my more casually stepping husband, I will add.) I will agree with the posted sign at the start of the trail; not for those with a fear of heights! Very glad I did it though. The second half of the trail was less scary than the first and I even paused on a little wooden bridge to sit and look out at the beautiful vista… ah. Bliss. I tried to talk the husband into another park, but he was right, we were both tired. Let’s go home.

In general; I loved the parks. Most people followed the rules keeping to one-way traffic on the trails and social distancing. And some folks even wore masks like the husband and I. It was a good, social distance pandemic vacation choice! We did not visit any restaurants or stores… and we didn’t need to. (OK, we got a drive-through burger on the way home 🙂 Our first in over a year!)

Thursday the husband and I were useless, dead to the world. Heh. We were not used to all that going out and doing stuff! Also, very sore! Also, it was raining. Nature’s way of saying ‘stay in bed!’ heh.

Friday, we recovered and we went out to Coventry for my last vacation day. We stopped at a bakery on the way, and husband was grumpy because of the traffic and road construction we encountered, however things improved by the time we got to Coventry. The parking garage is free right now (good move by the city given the drop in shoppers because of the pandemic!) I wanted to go to my favorite clothing store; Passport to Peru. And the husband went in with me, brave man. I did my best to browse quickly; and I found a very pretty lace jacket. I tried it on, and bought it! We were in and out in less than 15 minutes and I was very happy with my purchase. We then walked down to Grum’s and I bought us a Grumsteer sub for dinner. (YUM!) and our last stop was Phoenix coffee to pick up some lattes. By the way, Phoenix Coffee has excellent infection control procedures including a box of tissue paper next to the register for you to use to touch the screen. Nice. Note: next time a half a Grumsteer is enough food for two people. Doing the whole Grumsteer was a (delicious) mistake. It felt good to get out and do something ‘normal.’

Thus ended my vacation. Very glad we did it, I think we both needed the break!

Gratitude

Thursday Gratitude

Once again posting on Friday… I shall not go back and see how often I do that, heh. This week’s excuse was just being tired. We returned home from our mini vacation on Wednesday and I was knackered! Did not do much yesterday at all! Clearly I am out of shape and out of the vacationing habit! But, I am grateful for many things:

  • Paid time off; being able to take a vacation is a blessing. Also, strangely grateful for the University’s “Use it or lose it” vacation policy; without which I might never take some of these vacation days.
  • We had lovely weather all three days of our mini vacation
  • We had no automotive problems, and did not get lost navigating the wilds of Ohio. Our GPS got a good reception! *whew!*
  • The cabin we rented was well stocked; they had the tin foil we forgot! and when we entered there was a Hard-Surface Cleaning Wipe waiting in its little package on the table. Very thoughtful, cabin rental company!
  • City, State and National Parks. I LOVE PARKS. I love nature, I love walking around in nature. It was lovely to visit new trails and new beauties.
  • So many flowers in bloom this time of year!
  • Grateful that I took the whole week off, instead of just the three days. Definitely needed the recovery time and let’s face it; I have days to use up or lose!
  • So many friends have been vaccinated.
Gratitude

Thursday Gratitude

Today I am grateful for many things,

  • Earth Day! My love to our hippie forefathers who created this holiday and worked so hard and tirelessly to make this a better world.
  • Coffee, through which all things are possible (This is the item that features on my gratitude lists the most, isn’t it? What does it say about me that it is coffee I am most grateful for? heh.)
  • Tomorrow is a day off, thank you inter-term University President Cowen! Woot!
  • Financial stability. I am very lucky, I know. But also I will own the fact that I have been extremely responsible in my spending habits and choices that lead me to financial stability so, go girl. It is a daily blessing to not have to worry about things like ‘will I make the rent this month?’ or “if I fill my gas tank, will I have enough money for groceries?”
  • The April snow, while much maligned, is quite pretty. I enjoyed taking some photos yesterday of snow covered blossoms. Also grateful I hadn’t put away my winter coat. 🙂
  • Hubby called the place we ordered bulbs from (they had the wrong address, this is why we didn’t get our lilies of the valley. Ah. New batch is on the way!) and he called the insurance company last week and sorted out things with them… happiness is having things taken care of and not having to make the call myself 🙂 Very grateful to husband for doing that!
  • Husband has started duolingo and is enjoying it. 🙂
  • Cats

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Earth Day Resolutions

Today is Earth Day! Every year on Earth day I try to make a new resolution to do better for our planet. I’ve been pretty successful with some in the past (taking my own mug to the coffee house, for example, was surprisingly easy and rewarding!)

Remember the Three R’s Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

This year I already knew what my resolution was going to be; reducing my use of single-use plastics. I have started using my Tupperware more for storing food instead of plastic baggies. I want to use my daisy lid things for pots instead of cling wrap when I put them in the fridge. (Must find a smaller size one for small bowls.) Am looking skeptically at those beeswax food wraps I’ve seen for sale. Hrm….

Anyway, small steps can have a large impact and I encourage everyone to think of some small way they can help their planet today. ❤

Gratitude

Thursday Gratitude

As always I am grateful for many things, and since it’s Thursday I’m blogging about some of them!

  • This week has been remarkably quiet at work; we’re in the downhill slide toward the end of the semester and the number of meetings has dropped dramatically. Others are scrambling… I’ve got a breather. It’s nice. Been making headway on projects!
  • Mark re-painted all of our garden gnomes. This is delightful.
  • Coffee
  • “Secrets of the Castle” my friend Jehenne posted about this series on Facebook and it’s great! It’s a shame there are only five episodes. Husband and I sped through them one a day and I am absolutely re-watching! Really got me excited about 13th century French costuming again. I really aught to have a proper under dress with wider sleeves and buttoned cuffs…. and I so want an over-gown with hanging sleeves. Those are the bomb!
  • I still have easter candy left 🙂 Down to the bunny and chocolate eggs. (The jelly beans are my favorite and always the first to go!) Very glad I grabbed the sour jelly beans this year; I liked them a lot!
  • With my new Tableau report I was able to get all of the daily audit reports done by John’s deadline. Woot.
  • The on-line Tableau training and all of the various communities and message boards filled with helpful instructions. Google remains my most useful coworker 🙂
  • Daffodils, hyacinth, violets, all the lovely spring flowers. Also, our one remaining tulip which was planted in an out-of-the way corner by the lilac bush and has escaped being eaten by deer…. split! We have four tulips this year in the spot! yay! May they continue to avoid being eaten 🙂
  • My wool sweater I bought in Ireland and cool enough weather lately to wear it in.
  • Candice climbed into my lap during my lunch break and fell asleep. It meant I didn’t go for a walk at lunch but I don’t care. CAT! in lap! 🙂 May she continue to realize this is her natural habitat. 🙂
  • Grateful for the trips I’ve taken. Four years ago today is the day I took my Dad to the Louvre. It seems like another lifetime… so glad we took that trip when we did!