My Favorite Things

I responded to a friend’s internet challenge, to post a list 3 positive things a day. When another friend started as a result of my challenge, I committed to an additional seven.

Here’s the first batch of positive things, and I hope they brighten your day.

josh waiting 1

Day 1:

  1. I’m grateful to my son who mowed the yard even feeling crappy and in intense humidity — it was a pleasure to drive down the street to home.
  2. I’m happy that I knit. I could give all 21 slots with a knitting related post.layout2_r1_c2
  3. I’m with Kim that cats make me smile. The world is better place because of our feline companions.

Day 2: 

  1. My garden has given us fresh tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini, as well as lots of Tomatoesonvine2basil.
  2. I am lucky enough to have a granddaughter.
  3. Evenings are getting cooler in Asheville–so much less need for AC, and more chance for open windows, bird song, and breeze.

Day 3:

  1. machine-bestI appreciate breathing…all through the night. I got a loaner C-PAP machine and sleeping is true rest again. What a joy!
  2. I woke early this morning, and one of the first thoughts was “what am I grateful for?” — I attribute that lovely waking to this challenge, which has re-focused my mind on the positive in life.
  3. I’m grateful for metaphoric and literal “off buttons.” There’s a time to walk away from drama and ugliness (as well as a time to act) and knowing when that it lifts a weight and frees the mind and heart. That’s a miraculous thing.
  4. –Oh, and a bonus 4) — I’m grateful it’s Friday after a good week at work.

Day 4:

  1. beautiful bird croppedBirds — when I step out my back door each time I leave the house, there are always birds there — in the trees and scrub, on the feeder, winging by. Bird song and that exquisite flash of upward wing never fail to make my own spirit soar. What a gift that is, through good and bad times, just a bird can make me smile.
  2. Jon Stewart is always guaranteed to make me laugh. He reminds me (in a good way) of my late husband, Dennis, who also could always make me laugh.
  3. barilla3Good Gluten-Free Pasta is no longer a contradiction in terms. There are several mainstream brands making gluten-free versions and this puts some old favorite dishes back on the menu.

Day 5:

  1. zen051Celebration (1)Friends! I could leave it at that, but especially the unexpected close friendships of adulthood. Good friends laugh and grieve with you, make meals, trade favors, secret jokes, and masses of understanding and acceptance. God Bless Good Friends.
  2. With said friends, we drank a bottle of cheap (3.99) red wine that was good!
  3. There’s a new produce stand in my neighborhood. An enterprising older man from the Islands, or perhaps Africa (lovely lilting accent, gracious and warm manners) has taken a vacant building and desolate lot over — he’s put up a large roofed area and has tables and tables of beautiful fresh produce. I stopped for the first time yesterday and bought 4 tomatoes for $2! We talked about things for a bit and then he gifted me with a giant organic tomato and wished me a great evening.

Day 6:

  1. I love the way Facebook helps reveal social connections and make them visible in ways I never paid attention to before social media. The spread of this lovely challenge and the interesting variations it has taken fascinate me. Like an old-fashioned game of telephone, spreading the message changes the message and the messenger.telephone game (237x136)
  2. When I stop and think of it, I realized I have been much loved in my life — many of those have left the planet now, but the love doesn’t go away. It lives in me and my memories and I can continue it on by loving others. What beautiful magic that is!
  3. It’s Monday morning and I feel no dread or sorrow or anger at the prospect of going to work this morning and the rest of the week. That’s a blessing — if you’ve ever experienced those feelings in response to the work week, you know. It’s also a privilege to have meaningful work in a pleasant setting with good co-workers. It’s one I pray every worker can have. When I center myself around the thought of how blessed I am to have that, I feel the glow of gratitude and joy seep through me and a smile spread across my face.

Day 7:

  1. Gorgeous George

    Gorgeous George

    Pretty much the whole internet agrees with me that kittens and cats are an endless source of fascination: more personality and energy packed in those springy bodies than can be contained, so it leaks out in extreme cuteness and apparent wisdom. When I need to laugh, a silly kitten attacking something harmless with such zeal can always do the trick. And isn’t it great that there’s no prescription cost, or anything….

  2. It’s the last few days of August and I’m not dreading September. Between world events and personal losses, the 9th month had assumed a pretty bad rep in my mind. This year, it’s pretty much just another month — I’m excited to see fall arriving while I mourn the loss of fresh tomatoes and basil. I see the sky lightening in the morning a few minutes later each day. But I don’t want to take to my bed with the covers over me! There’s a song “Wake Me When September Ends” that used to match my feeling, but now it’s just a song again. Since I loved September and its promise of autumn and new starts, I’m grateful to have it back.
  3. Sisters. I have only one official sister, who I love and adore and hope to continue laughing, playing, cooking, knitting, arguing and hugging for decades yet to come. I also have several sisters of the heart that joined my inner family over the years, and they too are a whole bouquet of graces.

With special thanks to Kim for starting me on this, I say with joy, And So It Is.


We Can Too!


This great little image is from the artist who blogs at She’s initiating a weekly add-on post for positive change a baby-step at a time. 

I’m giving the “We Can Wednesday” meme a shout-out in part because I just love the image. It’s a pretty terrific concept, too. Report on positive change “small or large, personal or worldwide, action or concept.”  — Go girl!

The change I’m seeing is more laughter — in my personal life and at work. Sometimes it’s an effort to laugh rather than bitch when things go awry.

In his classic You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought, the late great Peter McWilliams said, “if it will be funny later, it’s funny now.”  Reading that statement for the first time set off one of those inner bells that lets you know it’s a profound truth — at least for yourself.

Another favorite quote is from Paul Simon, as he tried to sing “Still Crazy After All These Years” in a turkey costume on Saturday Night Live, “they told me, ‘Paul, you take yourself soooo seriously.'”  Oh how that made me wince!

So, I laugh at me, and foibles and mistakes, at the world’s antics, and in return I see the smiles, the lightened burdens, the spontaneous chortles, and the growing glow in people’s eyes. 

Happy We Can Wednesday.

Resuming Ordinary Life

I had a great outing today. It’s the first spontaneous fun-day I’ve shared with Carolyn (one of my two best buddies)  since I starting having health problems back in November.

We started out to just see a movie, but the lines were too long…. So we detoured to a bookstore…. Then on to an Italian bistro with antipasto, wine, tiramisu and espresso….  And, finally, the early evening show of the movie. 

So here I am, home again.

Even though we only had to walk about two blocks, I’m ready for bed! It was a lot of fun, though, just getting to browse and laugh (and cry a little).

Removing yourself from ordinary day-to-day pleasures and routines can be such a gift. I’ve treasured the time I had recovering from surgery — the lessons about letting go of expectations, accepting limitation and allowing others to help me. But my favorite lesson was remembering to cherish the satisfactions of everyday life.

Getting up for work and moving without pain. Seeing colleagues and having them welcome me back joyfully.

Finding I still love what I do for a living. Feeling strength flow back a day at a time. Chatting in the hallway at the office.  Being welcomed home by the cat running to the back door.

Going to the grocery store! That was one of the highlights of the week.

Today, I felt almost dizzy from the wealth of books and magazines, games and puzzles at the Barnes & Noble. I bought my annual calendars (at half price ☺) for the office and for home, two small jigsaw puzzles and a paperback. Such extravagance on top of eating out and a movie; however, today felt like a true celebration.

To Life! To friends! To books! To learning! And to prosciutto and tiramisu!

New York State of Mind

I’m posting this from my sister’s dining room table on a quiet Monday night. There’s occasional traffic whooshing by, but the deeper silence of rural upstate New York is profound.

I can hear the house sounds, the pad of the cat’s feet through the house, the muted footsteps of my sister puttering upstairs.

It’s a balmy evening — the Catskills are having a cool summer. The windows are open to catch the breeze and air conditioning is just a southern memory.

The only demand on me is just to be. To talk, to eat, to enjoy.  The only fly in my ointment is a dead mouse battery (me and touch pads do not get along).

I’m tired, blissed out, and reveling in my role as baby sister — feeling pampered, cherished and beloved.

Life is great.

Birds & Hope

450px-White-Browed_Robin“If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.”

This Chinese proverb symbolizes both the reliable, yet fleeting, nature of joy and the eternal upwelling of hope to me. I haven’t blogged on my love of birds before, but it struck me tonight how much a touchstone they represent to me. I can depend on their song, a flash of scarlet wing, a cocky tilt of a chickadee’s head, the liquid trill of a wren. These moments transport me out of everyday consciousness — out of misery, depression, sorrow, exhaustion, fear, doubt, loneliness — into the power of the present (or the Power of the Presence, if you will).

Something in the juxtaposition of fragility and vitality that a bird is, takes me to center and balances me there. What an amazing gift they are to the world. I always wonder just what it is that makes them move me so — from the hummer feisty vitality to the majesty and power of the hawk, they have an instantaneous transforming effect.

Or maybe it’s just that you have to be looking upward to see them…