Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012 Grateful for the Year

No matter what happened this past year, I can look back and see how much there was to be grateful for, all of the good moments and memories.  A lot can happen in a year, and it is never all bad, therefore a lot of good can happen in a year.

I didn't quite make it to 365 posts, however every day there was something to be grateful about.

Grateful for the year, grateful for the hope and possibilities of 2013.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

12-18-2012 Another Year of Living

Every new day we wake up, we should be grateful for being alive.  So, the same thing should be true for each new birthday.  A year of good and bad, ups and downs,   things learned and things forgotten perhaps to be relearned later with an extra dash of wisdom.

Grateful for one more year of living.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

12-1-12 Smoothies

I had a free smoothie today. 
I like smoothies.  The kids like smoothies.  I have a friend who sells smoothies so sometimes I've purchased a smoothie because I wanted one and wanted to hang out with a friend for a few minutes.  My kids like smoothies, they are still a treat for them.  I will enjoy buying them and drinking them.

I am grateful for smoothies.

11-22-12 Thanksgiving

What a great day. 

As long as we don't forget it's not just about how much food you can eat.

I was grateful and thankful for quite a few things this day:

coffee, bagels, running, friends, sweet potatoes, pecans, family, walks, kids, Harry Potter, reasonableness, breathable tech shirts, hanging out, sharing, a view of the water, meeting new people, thinking good thoughts and having happy memories, realizing that things are almost never as bad as they seem.

11-21-12 Hanging In There

I think someone asked me how I was doing, and since I was pretty far from having my best day ever I said something like "hanging in there"  (with an implied barely).

But, this is not so bad.

It's actually quite good.

Sometimes that's all you need to do.  You don't have to have your best day ever every day, some days can look pretty bad.  Just make the most of it and get through it.

The better days are just around the corner or maybe even tomorrow.

Be grateful that "hanging in there" is an option, it beats not hanging in there and it also beats stressing out over the fact that you are just hanging in there.

I'll take it.  I'm grateful for just hanging in there.

Friday, November 16, 2012

11-16-12 Smiles

I was grateful for a lot of things today.  I was wondering which one thing I would pick.  There were many things and that made me feel fortunate, and that feeling fortunate made me smile.  The smile reminded me.  When you smile, you can feel it.  You can remember many things that made you smile.  It's a gift to remind us.  They are free.  You can give away as many as you want and maybe make someones day a little bit richer.

So, yes, I am grateful for smiles.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

11-14-2012 3.76

I was going through the motions this morning.  Going on my run and hoping that something would happen, that there would be a shift in thinking.  And there was.  My garmin read 3.76 miles, I was running down the grassy shoulder along the road where I sometimes run to simulate running on a trail.  It was a memory that came back to me and made me smile.  This one memory switched me back on.

This moment could have happened at any time.  I had faith that it could happen.

Tomorrow is another day.  Another chance for a happy thought or something good.

I was grateful for this moment today at the point where I had just finished running 3.76 miles.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

11-3-2012 My Son

I literally watched my son come into this world 14 years ago.  He has been a blessing even from before he was born and continues to inspire and motivate me.

I am grateful for my son.

11-2-2012 Notes to Self

Earlier in the week I was thinking about something.  I was thinking about the power of faith.  Faith really becomes important when everything else seems to have gone away, hope, reason, etc.  But, sometimes you just have to trust in faith.

Then today, something was troubling me, and things seemed hopeless.  Then I remembered what I had been thinking about earlier in the week.  I believed it then, so I would believe it today also, just have faith, trust, and go on.  (It makes me think of a dark tunnel I ran through a long time ago.  I tried to go around it, but found I had to go through it.  I had no light with me.  I knew the tunnel would get pitch black in the middle, but I also knew that if I kept on running I would come out the other side.  So, I ran through it and as I predicted, it was pitch black in the middle, but I kept on going and just as I told myself I did come out the other side).

Remember what you tell yourself and believe, it will come in useful!
I am grateful for these notes to self.

Friday, November 2, 2012

11-1-2012 November

A new month.  Thanksgiving (and lots of people focusing on being thankful), time to make a 2012 CD, mornings will start getting lighter, the holidays will approach.

In a month located at this time of year that should theoretically be depressing, there is so much going on.

welcome to November everyone, enjoy!

I am grateful for this month.

10-27-2012 Hydrogen

I was talking to older son about his homework, which was to work on a write up and model of an atom.  I asked him if he could do hydrogen (because then you could just take an apple for the proton and put a grape on a toothpick for the electron).

No, on two counts.  Must be at least atomic number of 6, and can't use food.

So, he picked nitrogen.

But, it gave me an idea.  Let's make some hydrogen.

My Dad showed me this a long time ago, and there were also plenty of examples on the internet.

Some tubes, some wires (borrowed from the inverter we bought this summer), salt water and batteries.

We hooked it up and right away saw the bubbles.  Later, once we had enough gas saved up, I took the tube outside and lit it to prove what we had done.  Retried the experiment with both hydrogen and oxygen going into the same tube, seemed to have the same effect when lighting it (maybe a slight "pop" sound though)


10-31-2012 Halloween

I put up decorations this year, and like last year also the real magic came from the kids (although mainly the older one) helping to put up the decorations and adding some of the right touches.

The bucked filled with candy, it was time.  Older son was by the house twice , once to get ready and then once by with his friends.  He was with a group, all of them wearing basically the same costume, the main piece of which was the "Groucho Marx" glasses (dark rimmed glasses, big fake nose, and bushy mustache), the other key thing about this group is that they were singing.  At the neighbor's house they sang Jingle Bells.  At our house they sang BYOB by System of a Down (and did quite well, too).


Younger son spent some time trick or treating with one of his friends, then went a little bit on his own (not too far just to the end of the street and back).  He rushed back in the house like someone was chasing him and then yelled to me "Trick!!"

We hung out for a few minutes sorting through his candy and then it was time to go.

Yes, there was some magic tonight, and it was definitely the good kind, the kind that we all could use more of.

I greatly treasured Halloween this year (i.e. grateful)

Friday, October 26, 2012

10-26-2012 Pizza on Friday

I was going to just say Friday but also thought about pizza.  Tonight was pizza.  It was actually just a frozen cheese pizza, then I added some more toppings (including a little bit of backyard sweet basil).  It made it feel like Friday.  It was a good evening with the kids.

I'm grateful for pizza on Friday.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

10-25-12 Doing Something

Sometimes there is a lot that you could be doing, a lot that you should be doing, a lot that needs to be done.  It can become overwhelming and you can end up doing nothing.

It's at those times when doing something, no matter small is infinitely better than doing nothing.  When I don't have time to work out, I do a workout called my "better than nothing workout".

When I don't know where to start on a project, I do something, and that's all that it takes - even if it wasn't the 100% best place to start.

I didn't know what to write tonight, so I decided I would just write something.

Doing something is at least existing, and that's at least the first step to really living.

So, tonight I'm grateful for doing something.

Friday, October 19, 2012

10-18-12 Squirrels

They are full of life and always up for a visit to the kitchen window.  There is a bottle brush bush just outside the kitchen and one or two squirrels on any given day will show up there to say hi.  To get there, they run along the white fence which encloses the backyard.

Or, they can hop a branch to get onto one of the two oak trees and from there jump onto the screened lanai.  When the dog is watching, he has a job to do to make sure the squirrels know they shouldn't get too comfortable.

I'm grateful for these furry friends when they come over for a visit - which is just about everyday.

10-17-12 Backyard Basil

There are just a few things growing in the garden in the backyard (or at least what is left of the garden).
There are three raspberry bushes, an old hot pepper plant, a few flowers, and a basil plant.

I put the basil plant in there one weekend just to fill some space.  One weekend, when serving up leftovers I cut off some leaves, cut them up and tossed it with leftover spaghetti, olive oil and garlic powder, my son loved it.

I had some more spaghetti tonight and repeated the leftover recipe for myself.  Just the act of walking to the plant, cutting the leaves and then adding it to the leftovers made a huge difference.

That one little plant which is now pretty big is something I'm grateful for.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

10-16-12 Detours

This morning on my way to work, the road was blocked.  A firetruck was parked across the road and the cars were directed onto another road.

So, I went to work a different way, it took a little bit longer.  Sure, the detour was inconvenient, but I still arrived at work.

What if there were no detours when the road was blocked?  Yes, I know, pretty absurd.  But still, a detour is better than the alternative, which is to either be stuck at the road block or give up and go back to where you came from.  I'll take the detour.

And because that was a choice, I'll be grateful for the detour.

Monday, October 15, 2012

10-15-12 Remembering that Miracles can Happen

Two things happened as I ran this morning.  I started out feeling slow and creaky, I couldn't seem to get any sort of bounce or flow or anything like that.  But, I've been through this before.  I knew that if I kept on going for 2 or 3 miles, my way of thinking would change.

And it did change.  I remembered that miracles can happen.  I've seen small miracles happen.  Those times when things just turn around for the better.  They happen when you least expect them.  This means they don't happen all the time, so you can't always count on them, but you can't count on them to not happen either.

This one thought changed my outlook (at least for a while).

I was grateful to have remembered this.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

10-12-12 Breakfast With Dad

One more chance to have breakfast at my school's son.  Things change over time, but we can enjoy these moments while they last.  My youngest one is growing up fast and has a little under one school year left before he moves onto the next school. 

Breakfast was good with eggs, pancakes, juice, coffee, and sausage - just about everything.  It was a good chance to be there with my son, and take in the sights of the school and where he eats lunch each day.

The last time I came for breakfast was toward the end of the last school year.  There were many uncertainties ahead, both good and bad which have come and gone.  There will always be those things to worry and wonder about.

But, this morning, it was just about sitting down and having breakfast, being there for my son so he could have breakfast with dad.  I'm grateful that I was there for him.

10-14-12 Changing Seasons

It has finally started to turn more and more cool each morning, although the days still warm up nicely.  The days are getting a little bit shorter and there are those very subtle clues of Florida Fall, not as dramatic in the north but still there if you look around.

Without the seasons time flows together, but with these changes that come every year at the same time we get reminded.  I look forward to these changes and try and appreciate them by taking part somehow.

For the little things that go along with the seasons and the reminders they give us, I am grateful.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

10-11-12 again, for this blog

Once again, I am grateful for this blog.  The fact that I had not posted since last week was scratching away in the back of my mind.

I think it really helps to write something down that you are grateful about. Thinking about it is good, but writing it down is so much better.

I think of the nights I have sat down to write an entry, and on weeks where I have been good about this, at the end of the week it somehow seems just a little bit better.

So, once again I am grateful for this blog.

Friday, October 5, 2012

10-4-2012 Grateful to be Alive

For an instant, I thought there was a chance I might die.  Ok, that was the worst case scenario and I knew I had some time to get help, but still.  I grabbed a plum and took it back to my desk.  Took a bite out of it.  I don't think I lodged an actual piece of it in my throat, it might have just been the juice going down the wrong way.  But, I could feel it stuck and I went to take a deep breath but only made a gasping noise.  I did this several times and it just wasn't clearing out.  There was no one in the office next to me but there were others in the building.  I started to get out of my desk and was wondering if I could make it down the hallway in time.

Just as I was getting up, it finally cleared and I was able to start breathing again.

It seems like a silly way to go and I was probably no where close to dying, but not being able to get your breath like that really makes you think.

Another reminder that makes you feel grateful to be alive.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

9-30-2012 The Grill

It's more than just a place to cook.  For someone who is not really a cook, it makes you feel like you can do it.  Grills are centerpiece of the cook out, portable grills can go to a tailgate party, or camping or maybe to the beach.

Tonight for something different I bought frozen quails.  Thawed them out and put them on the grill.  All of the sudden, for a moment it made me feel like I good do it, I could cook.  Also put on some corn on the cob - love the taste of grilled corn.

Anyway, the grill and I go way back and I can't think of a bad day grilling and the memories of those times when we sat down and ate together.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

9-25-2012 KC and the Sunshine Band

I was running this morning, listening to my mp3 player and an old song from this band came on

It's a happy song and I thought about being a kid and all the time that has gone by and also about living in the moment and enjoying life.  And I wished that I could appreciate all those moments that happened from then until now.

And sort of like "click", moment captured.  Running fast at 6:00 a.m. listening to a happy song with the day ahead of me.

Thank you K.C.

9-24-2012 Good Things You Don't Even Know About

We can be grateful for those big things and little things.   We can be grateful when we reflect upon the day and what there was to be grateful for.

But, there will always be those things we just don't know enough to be grateful for.  Then one day we either learn the hard way and whatever that thing is goes away on us, or we learn about it before it goes away.

For example, how many of us are grateful for the beneficial bacteria in our intestines?  I heard a story once about life saving "poo" transplants.  And after you get past the potty humor aspect you see how serious these situations are.  I looked on the news today and saw yet another story today of this life saving procedure and how important these little things are.

There will be more things that you may never know about.

Be grateful for those things.

Friday, September 21, 2012

9-21-2012 This Morning

I think maybe I have been grateful for mornings and the promise of the start of a new day.  But today, I just want to be grateful for this morning.  It was a good morning.  Another start of a day.  I don't think there was really anything spectacular or newsworthy.  But, nevertheless, it was a good morning.  The temperature felt right, I ran, I stretched, I ate breakfast and went to work.

There are no ordinary moments unless that is how we look at things.  While this morning is still the present and  before it becomes the past, I am going to be grateful for THIS MORNING.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

9-19-2012 Clean Sheets

When the day is done, and it's time for bed, and the last thing you notice right before you fall asleep is that the sheets are clean and fresh, it's one more detail to think about, about how much there is to be grateful for.  From the moment you wake up, then going about your day, until you fall asleep.

It's just one more reminder, of things to be grateful for, like clean sheets.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

9-18-2012 Dignity

It's not the opposite of humility, because opposite might imply that one is good and the other is not, but they do counteract each other.

Once you have accepted humility, you can turn to your dignity or self worth.  They are both important.
Everyone deserves their dignity and we all have the same self worth and need to realize that.

I am grateful for dignity.

Monday, September 17, 2012

9-17-2012 Humility

I am grateful for humility.  To experience that feeling sometimes feels like just what you needed to put things into perspective.  We want to think of ourselves as the one who is being right or is trying to be right even though we know there is a chance that maybe we are not.

To accept our faults, to step away from the theoretical and embrace ourselves as we are sometimes takes a dose of humility and hopefully it comes before it is too late.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

9-16-2012 Sunday Morning Waffles

The house was quiet this morning, the week is winding down with a new week and new challenges starting tomorrow.

Time to get moving, time to do something to start the day and do something positive.

So, I made waffles.  And, I realized that it has been longer than I thought it had been.  I had been making pancakes on the weekends, using a recipe on an old scrap of paper.   But, the cookbooks I used to open to find a waffle recipe were not available, so maybe it has been a while or maybe I found a recipe on the internet.

I found a basic recipe on the internet but used buttermilk instead of milk.  It was a pretty big batch and the boys and I ate almost all of them except for two which I froze.  We had fresh grapes and pineapple on the side (I like to buy a pineapple now and then, leave it in the fruit basket for a few days then slice it up for fresh pineapple.  It's a nice decoration.  It's a symbol of welcoming, a reminder of Hawaii, and it reminds me of Spongebob).

So, the simple ingredients were transformed into something to start the day and something to be grateful about.

Friday, September 14, 2012

9-14-2012 Seeing the Tunnel End

The last 24 hours were a rough ride, with challenges from every possible angle between work, social, family, and self.  There is more to come but there is a small break now - maybe not too long, but just long enough to reflect on how fortunate I am to have the good friends, family, and experiences to help me go on.

I'm going to hang onto my attitude of gratitude.

I'm grateful for seeing the end of one tunnel even if another one is around the corner, because I know I can choose to get through that one also.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

9-12-12 Knowing What Life Is

I may not know what the meaning of life is or what life is all about.   But I did hear one time that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.  I think back to the good and bad things that happened today, and the things that come to mind had little to do with the plans that were being made.  Those plans are for the future, but what happened today happened today.  We live in the day.   Worrying excessively about the future is not what life is, it is not what you'll remember, except perhaps to think back and wondered why you worried so much.

I am grateful for this idea because it makes the future not so worrisome when you realize that what counts is what you do during each day.

I think this made very little sense but that's ok, I think I get it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

9-9-2012 A Friend Who Will Run Through Rain

I am grateful to a friend of mine who was going to run with me, then was going to cancel the run due to rain but since I had almost driven all the way there he changed his plans again and came out to run with me through the woods at Croom.

Not everyone would do that, it was above and beyond.

So, I am grateful for this friend who ran through the rain today with me.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

9-8-2012 Was Able to Loosen Nut

A very minor thing today, but when it happened I thought that this is what I would write down.

I have fixed toilets a lot.  Partially, because I don't seem to get it right the first time.  The downstairs toilet was starting to leak in two spots since the last time I had fixed it.  Spot one was at where the supply line connects to the cut off valve, and the other spot was where the supply line connected to the tank.

The upstairs toilet had also been leaking at the supply line and I was afraid to touch it so I called a plumber, who for $145 fixed it and also made me see how easy it was - he also gave me some valuable tips on toilet repair.

So, I set out to fix the downstairs toilet.  Still concerned about what if I broke the cut off valve - big disaster.

I tried to loosen the nut - it wouldn't budge.  Sprayed it with wd-40 and tried again in a few minutes. And then it came off with no problems and the rest of repair went smoothly.

It all hinged on getting that somewhat corroded looking nut to budge without messing up the cut off valve.

So, for that one moment that could have turned a simple repair into a disaster, but didn't -

I am grateful I was able to loosen that nut.

Friday, September 7, 2012

9-7-2012 One More Day

A few weeks ago I was grateful that if a day wasn't so good, at the end of it you could be grateful that the next day was another day to start over again.

Today I'm thinking about how one should at the end of the day be grateful for one more day.  Today was a day that was given to me.  This day will never happen again.  It wasn't the best day or the worst day.

But it was one more day and I should be grateful for that.

9-6-2012 Epiphanies while Running

I had been up most of the night, unable to sleep, trying to think of a solution to a problem that was stuck in my head.  I knew that figuring it out would require transcendence of some sorts because the problem itself was affecting my thoughts.

And it seemed almost to be trivial to do something to go for a run but I knew it would be good for me in many ways.

After three miles, the answer came to me and it was not what I expected and it was not even a direct answer to the problem, but it was better than that.

Who knows what causes it, perhaps all the extra blood pumping or maybe the redirecting of energy from where it shouldn't be (negative thoughts) to where it should be.

But, for whatever the reason it has helped me before, and I am truly grateful for it.  At this moment I am actually exceedingly grateful.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

9-5-2012 My Boss

He's a good guy.  I kind of have two bosses, actually they are both good guys.
I think I already said that I was grateful for my job, but it's worth it to mention my boss(es).


Also, I'm in Texas right now, I guess that is something else to be grateful for!
Looking forward to going back home though.

Friday, August 31, 2012

8-30-2012 Power of Positive Thinking

Last Friday when I was stressing out about various things and was about to go to bed, I decided I would try and end the day with a positive thought.  I decided to be grateful for the fact that tomorrow was another day and things could be better.

And it worked, things did get better.

I ran in a fulfilling 5K race, was able to see some good friends, was able to accomplish a lot around the house, then had a very peaceful and relaxing run across some hilly roads the next morning with some old friends and new friends.

Coincidence?  Maybe
Can you positive think your way out of any bad situation?  Probably not
But in the grand scheme of things, a positive attitude can go a long way.  Try and stay positive.

And be grateful when you can enjoy the successes.  Maybe it will even spread to someone else.

Friday, August 24, 2012

8-24-2012 Tomorrow is a new Day

We should be living in the present ideally, but sometimes, when the day is done and you are about to go to bed and you want to try and put a positive thought in your head, there is always the idea that tomorrow is a new day, anything can happen, including good things.  It's not too far away, so it's almost like living in the present, it's just one night away :)

I'm grateful, that tomorrow is a new day, so when I wake up tomorrow it's time to start again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

8-22-12 Rice

Today, it was rice from a rice cooker.  I come home and have a short time to grab a snack before taking the boys to Tae Kwon Do.  Add water and rice to the rice cooker, set the timer, and when we come home there is a pot of perfectly cooked (just sticky enough to stick) rice.  We each had some tonight and there's a little left over.  There's a ten pound bag which is going to take a while to empty.

Enjoying those rice moments, grateful for the simple things.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

8-21-12 A Big Pillow While Sitting on the Floor

Sometimes you don't have a seat available or you just feel like sitting on the floor.  So, when you have a big pillow to rest against, it sure feels nice.

At this moment, I'm grateful for the big pillow behind me - yes, sometimes just the simple things in life.

8-20-12 Traffic Lights

I was driving home yesterday, thinking about how I was falling behind in this blog again.  It hadn't been the best day ever (although it could have always been worth).   But it was one of those days where you really need to think what there is to be grateful for.

It didn't take long at all, as soon as I thought that thought, I looked up to see that the traffic light was green.  There was something right in front of me, something we depend on and take for granted.  Things like this are all around us.

I'm not only grateful for what traffic lights do for us but this time for what they reminded me of.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

8-14-12 Shooting Stars

I saw a shooting star while running this morning as it was still dark out.  I've seen a pretty good number of shooting stars, especially while running, but they never cease to amaze me.  They may not be signs or maybe they are, however they are a good reminder to look up in the sky even when, and especially when it is dark out, because you never know what you might find or when you might see one.

It's amazing to think how there was some piece of small rock floating in space, and then at that exact moment while looking in that area, it suddenly hits the atmosphere, burns up and looks like a star falling from the sky.

Amazing.

I'm grateful for shooting stars.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

8-12-12 Moments Where you Realize Life Is Beautiful

It can happen at any time, even if the day is not going so well.

It is hot out and very humid, but then the rain comes and goes and things feel fresh.   You are at the Home Depot, loading up your truck with some sod and an older lady jokes if I'm going to deliver it to her house.  On the drive home you see a huge rainbow, it is very thick and low in the sky, a little different from any other rainbow you have seen before.  You get home and carry the sod and some edging and plants to the back yard, getting all sweaty in the process.  A couple of new plants bring color where there was none before, you stop and crack open a beer and then a few minutes later you get a call from someone you haven't heard from in a while.

All of this stuff just happens, it's just a bunch of small things, but in one instant you realize that life is beautiful because without life none of it would have happened.

I'm grateful for this.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

8-11-12 Weeds

When you feel like you should be doing something, especially outdoors, there are always more weeds to pull.  Pulling weeds can be quite satisfying, too.

There were several good things that happened today, but I still had that feeling I needed to be doing something.  So, I pulled weeds, which lead to throwing out some junk in the backyard and I have something else to work on in that spot where I pulled the weeds.  Maybe some planting or even painting a section of fence if ambitious!

Grateful for those weeds reminding me that something needed to be done!

Friday, August 10, 2012

8-10-12 Friendly Cashiers

After work I stopped at Michael's to pick up some things for the house.  I feel a little bit weird in there sometimes because I might sometimes be the only male in the store. 

Anyway, when I was checking out the cashier asked if I had a coupon.  I didn't, so she rang it up anyway as if I did have one.

It wasn't just the coupon thing, but was being just really nice all around.

I guess we should be grateful for anyone who is extra nice, but today I'll tip my hat to the extra friendly cashier and be grateful for that!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

8-7-2012 Challenges that make You Stronger

Sometimes if you think back on the events in life that stand out, the ones that have shaped you, many of them are some of the most difficult challenges, the ones that make you ask "why me?  why is this happening to me?"

Or, maybe thinking about running, and how the hardest runs are the ones that most prepare you to run the best race of your life.  It might be a hard run because you are not feeling well, a hard run because it is farther than you thought you could run or faster than you thought possible.

The classes that challenged you the most in school are also like that.

For any challenge that seemed impossible at the time but I somehow managed to survive, I'm grateful.

I'm grateful when the challenges are over, too!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

8-5-2012 Brownies in a Mug

I found a recipe on the internet, it's really easy - 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, pinch of salt, 2 tbsp cocoa, 2 tbsp oil, 3 tbsp water, microwave for 1 minute 40 seconds , top with ice cream.  I've made it 3 times now.  Once just for me, and two times for me and one son.  The other one had a taste of it so maybe he will want one next time also.

I was grateful I came across this, tried it, enjoyed it, then shared and enjoyed.

8-4-2012 The crater

My son calls the hot tub next to the pool, the "crater".  So, it's not just sitting in a hot tub in the back - you are suddenly sitting in a crater on the moon.  These are the things that make the days at this point in life special, they will not be around forever, because life changes.

Another moment to be grateful for - these are the things I don't want to forget.

8-3-2012 Learning to Cook

I learned how to cook a long time ago - a few things at home, a cooking class in 8th grade, just enough to get by.  But you need to practice, and that is where I've been lacking.  Little by little I've been starting to practice.  Friday night was grilled salmon, rice, and steamed green beans, tonight was steak, grilled tomatoes, corn and mashed potatoes.  Nothing too complicated.  During the week I made pumpkin bread on Wednesday night, and I've been using my rice cooker a couple of times a week - have made white rice, brown rice, as well as soup.

I'm grateful for the little that I have learned so far and am looking forward to losing more.

Monday, July 30, 2012

7-30-2012 Possibilities

I am grateful for possibilities.  We don't always know what is going to happen, and sometimes things just seem to stay the same.  But you never know when someone will call, or you will run into an old friend, or something that you never imagined before will happen.  It is these possibilities that exist that can give us hope.

For all of the possibilities, I am grateful.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

7-29-2012 Snowball Effect (the good one)

This morning, I was feeling a little bit lazy but I knew there was stuff I needed to do, although I wasn't sure what.  It can feel overwhelming sometimes when you have that feeling.
I went to use the bathroom, then thought to myself, ok, I'll just clean the toilet (I know, not everyone's favorite job, but it's pretty easy).  Cleaned the inside and outside, then decided, why not mop the floor?  Then since the mop was out, why not mop the kitchen floor, and then the foyer.  Then I was on a roll and took out the vacuum cleaner, picked up some things, and wiped down the counters.

Yay, snowball effect at its best, and a good part of the house cleaned! (as well as the dread of needing to get stuff done but not knowing where to start).
I'm grateful for that.

Friday, July 27, 2012

7-27-2012 Days With Lots to be Grateful For

There are some days which don't seem so good, days that you really have to remind yourself that there are things to be grateful for (because there always are each day we wake up), and think about what those things are.  Maybe it can be something that went wrong and you could be grateful that it wasn't worse.

But today, I ran with a friend, we ran into some old friends, work was quiet, the weather was nice, it was easy and less expensive than thought to get the AC fixed, then I walked into the pool store with a broken piece of equipment, they looked at it, knew what was wrong, and fixed it on the spot for free under warranty.

There were lots of little things like that, we should be grateful for days like that.

Monday, July 23, 2012

7-23-2012 My Dog's ACL Repair

Late last fall sometime, our dog Sammy injured his ACL.  There was a chance it would get better on it's own, but it did not, it got worse.  Finally, at the beginning of June we found a vet nearby that did quite a few of these surgeries.  He had the surgery and slowly got better.

Tonight I took him for a walk just like I used to all the time.  Of course, he loves walks as almost all dogs do.

This time last year we had three dogs and life was a lot different in many ways.  Some things you can't fix and some things you can.  Fortunately, this was one of those things.

It was a good weekend, with some hanging out, some getting things done, some swimming.  The weekend is over and the house is quiet now, so it was really nice to take Sammy out for his walk, and I'm grateful for being able to get his ACL repaired.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

7-22-2012 Getting Caught in the Rain

I took the two boys and one of their friends mini golfing today at our favorite place.  The place reminds me of Shangri-La for some reason.  They have a scavenger hunt of things to look for and get scratch off prizes, there are live alligators to feed, a small arcade and various other things.  We made it to about the 11th hole when a sprinkle started, then it got heavier.  It started to pour and the wind blew the rain sideways.  We went under a cabana but was getting wet from the slanted rain, so we ran for the arcade and watched the rain and some lightning.

I think everyone thought that the storm was more fun than finishing the game.  It will be a day to remember.

So, for this I'm grateful for getting caught in the rain.

7-15-2012 Nifty Products

I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to buy a pillow.  I saw something that could help me with a problem I was having.  I sometimes put my phone down on the arm rest in my truck but it slides around too much.  There was a rubber sticky mat you could buy so it wouldn't slide around.

It's just a little thing and I could have lived without it, but now my phone no longer slides around.

Sometimes is those little things that make you grateful, like these nifty products.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

7-9-2012 Soap

Between the drive up, the drive back and the different places we went, I can remember washing my hands a lot.  I thought about all the times you stop some place and the place isn't the cleanest.  Definitely grateful for soap!

7-8-2012 Knowing Where You're Going to Stay

Driving home from New York, with 23 hours of driving, the dog and two kids, it was nice to know we had a good place to stop and stay for the night - clean, takes dogs, and we know exactly what's there. Nothing fancy but a good place to stop, so one less thing to worry about.

Even Sammy seemed relaxed, as if maybe he remembered the place.

Spur of the moment decisions can be fun, but I was grateful this time for knowing where we were going to stay.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

7-7-2012 Sailing

A lot of fun things happened today.  Toward the end of the day I ended up on a small sailboat by myself and had to sail it back home.  It wasn't very far but it was directly into the wind.  It had been years since I last sailed, maybe not since I took a sailing course sometime during college.  I knew some of the theory but had little practiced.

I wanted to tack into the wind.  I made some progress away from the dock but after 10 minutes I seemed to have made no forward progress in the direction I wanted  (the words forward progress were now stuck in my head).   Think, think, think... what to do?

If I took too long to get back, someone would have to come and get me and tow me back, I was determined to not let that happen.

Eventually, I caught some wind, the sails filled, the little boat tilted and I made some progress.  I cut across the water, against the wind at an angle, then made a turn and successfully filled the sail again, lather, rinse repeat.

One more try, then I was heading right toward the dock at a perfect angle.

I had done it.

Sailing taught me something about relearning things that someone once taught you.

I am grateful for sailing.

7-6-2012 Magical Places

There is a park on an island, next to a bigger island where I have spent many summers.  At this park, there is a good sized rock sticking out of the water, it is big enough to fit several kids on it.  So, we called it kid island.  Kid island is a magical place.  There are other such magical places.  All it really takes is some imagination and some memories and a place can become magical.

Once you find one of those places, go back there when you can, you will be glad you did.

I am grateful for those magical places.




7-5-2012 Swimming in a Lake

Today I went swimming from a boat to shore, maybe 200 meters.  I did this same swim about one year ago.  I went with my brother and my son.  About 27 years ago I was swimming across the corner of a lake in the Adirondacks, it was the summer before the start of college.  Halfway across I was overcome by a feeling of dread, not like I was going to drown, just a feeling of dread.  I refrained from swimming in lakes for a long time, until last year.  I felt like I conquered a demon.

So, I did it again this year.  Maybe I will swim farther next time, or not wait another year.

It was a good reminder to conquer fears, and just swim.

Grateful for swimming in a lake.

7-4-2012 Fireworks

Tonight, my kids, my brother and I got in the boat and went to Boldt Castle on the St. Lawrence river to watch the fire works display.  I've always looked forward to watching the fireworks.  It's always felt special and this year was no exception, maybe even extra special.

So, something that is so exciting to watch and look forward to is truly something to be grateful for.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

7-3-2012 Perfect Weather for a Water Park

It's a little tricky in that you want it to be warm enough so you don't feel cold but not so hot that you are miserable while waiting in line.

We went to a place called Sea Breeze in Rochester, enjoyed some time at their water park then hit the rides.  We did the same thing last year.  And although a lot has changed in one year it was nice to be able to repeat some things.  I was grateful that the weather cooperated.

7-1-2012 Yes, We take Pets

As usual, there were many things to be grateful about, and what I'm about to write may in some ways seem to be the least of them, but at the time I immediately thought of the grateful blog.

I had been driving for about 12 hours with my two boys and one dog, had just narrowly missed a severe thunderstorm and I was having some doubts on how well things would work out.  I had done a little bit of research and knew that Choice hotel group was generally known to be pet friendly.   There was a Sleep Inn coming up in a few miles, then a couple more Choice hotels 8 miles after that.  I figured we would stop at this first one and if they were full or did not take dogs, then go down the road or ask them to call.

But, no extra miles were necessary.  The hotel was nice, reasonably priced, took dogs, had free breakfast and a nice field in back to walk the dogs.  Cable and internet were out but that actually worked out nicely since we had other things to do like read, talk to each other, and look at old home videos on my laptop.

I think this was the part of the trip were I knew that things would work out, when the lady at the desk said "yes, we take pets", and I decided I would write about it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

6-28-2012 Faith

Sometimes you hear people say to just believe, use your faith.  It's a good philosophy.  But, the times you really need to put it into practice can seem daunting.  Those times when logic and reason seem to fail and emotions can get the better of you, it's time to listen to those people who tell you to have faith.

One time I went running very early in the morning, before it was light.  I was on a trail that went through an old train tunnel which was pitch black.  Kind of scary inside, but I kept running and came out the other side.

Faith is kind of like that, you just keep going despite the darkness because you believe you can.

Of course, I'd prefer to not have to run on faith, but when you need it I'm definitely grateful for it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

6-27-2012 People Who Remind You to Be Grateful

A facebook friend and someone who I have run with once or twice (although she is way faster than me) posted a good lesson in how to look at stressful things and see something to be grateful, she said:

So today when I started to stress, I reminded myself of a few things: instead of stressing that the house is messy, I'm thankful for my babies that love to play; when work started to get the best of me, I'm thankful for a job and a great organization to work for; the laundry wasn't all done but I'm thankful I'm able to go out there and run adding to those dirty clothes.

Work was stressful today, other problems arose like the lawn and the pool and the house being empty as well as other ongoing things.  But, the lesson above is that if you have something to be stressed out over, you can look at it and be grateful for it instead if you just look at it differently.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6-26-2012 Refunds

I bought something a while ago which it turned out I didn't need.  So, I took it back to the store where I bought it for a refund.  There aren't too many things that can be so easily undone.

I was going to write about yesterday being grateful for not getting flooded from all of the rains and thought about writing it about it again today and hesitated because the storm has not gone past yet.  I guess, for now I'll be grateful for not being flooded so far, and will remain hopeful that the storm passes without too much more damage.  A lot of people have suffered already and despite it all, many of them are grateful for not having it even worse.

Monday, June 25, 2012

6-25-2012 Right Place at the Right Time

I went to go check on my parents house to make sure they didn't get flooded with all of the rain.  I got there and saw that things were fine, but also saw some people on the neighbors dock looking at the boat.  Next thing I know a woman was knocking on the front door asking for help.  They were the neighbors from two houses down checking on their neighbor who was out of town.

The boat had flooded and was about to sink.  It was very low in the water and the outlet to the pump was under water so that didn't do any good.

So, we attached a line to the boat and dragged it to my parents boat lift.  I turned on the power to the lift and we brought the sinking boat out of the water so it could drain.

I didn't think there was anything wrong at my parents place but I decided to check anyway.

I happened to be in the right place at the right time.  Not too long ago someone helped me out with my boat, so now I've repaid back a small piece of boat karma (I hope) because I was at the right place at the right time.

6-24-2012 Carpe Diem!

It rained all day today, a tropical storm was just sitting there somewhere off the coast of Florida.  It wasn't like a fast moving hurricane, just lots and lots of rain, steady all day.

This all day rain is the kind of weather that could make one stay inside and feel trapped.

A kid might see things otherwise and say something like, "I want to go play in the rain"

No thunder or lightning out, so I say "Ok".

I see him run outside with his bathing suit and jump into the pool, get out and jump back in again, splash around and have fun.

It looks wet, but it's actually kind of warm out.

So, I get decide to seize the day, get my bathing suit on and run out there, cannonball right in to the pool, get out and do it again.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I'm grateful for Carpe Diem!  I will remember that moment.

6-23-2012 A Noisy House

Sometimes the house is very quiet, when no one is around.  If there are a few people, and maybe a dog, then there is noise.  The noise is better than silence.  There was some good noise today.  The noise of people and dogs going about their business inside of a house is part of what makes a house a home.

So, for the noise house today, I was grateful.

6-20-2012 Someone to water my Tomato plant

I was out of town this past week, the rain had not gotten here yet and I was pretty sure the tomato plant I have in back would have died if there was no one here to water it.

I asked someone, he watered it while I was gone, and so it survived.

I'm sure there are lots of bigger things to be grateful for, but sometimes it's those little things you need to recognize because it's those little things that could go wrong and suddenly end up looking bigger than they should.  So, be grateful for the little things, like someone watering your tomato plant while gone.

6-16-2012 The Skills that I Do Have

Sometimes it seems like there are a lot of things that you just don't know how to do or you know how to do them, you just aren't very good at them.  Failures can make you dwell on those things.

However, think about the things you do know how to do, things that you are skilled at.  Everyone has some.

Be grateful for those things, I know that I am!

6-15-2012 Grateful for this blog

There are feelings and there are actions.  Sometimes we can't help how we feel.  However there are actions which we can take, which even though they seem absurd can actually change your feelings.  Sometimes I get a feeling that I have nothing to be grateful for.  That is just a feeling, it is not the truth.  If I can think of just one thing and write it down it makes the feeling go away.  I have this blog where I'm trying to write down one thing each day to be grateful for.

So, right now, I'm grateful for this blog because it made me sit down and think about one thing I'm grateful for.  Other things will now follow thanks to this blog.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6-14-2012 Fire Hydrants

I was going out for a run in the evening.  As I ran around the neighborhood and ran past the fire hydrants I thought about them for a minute or two.  I thought about how they are everywhere, ready, just in case they are needed.  If it wasn't for fire hydrants and a fire was a big enough there wouldn't be enough water to put it out.  I hope I don't ever personally require the services of a fire department, but for anyone whose home was saved I'm grateful for fire hydrants.

6-13-2012 Driving out to See Someone

My brother was in town, well actually in Orlando, so not really in town but a short drive away.  I drove out to see him and we went out to eat at one of those Brazilian style all you can eat steak restaurants.  It was good to get away for just a bit and I was grateful for being able to have a car to drive and money for gas so I could have a short visit with my big brother.

6-12-12 Publix Sandwhiches

On several nights, this has been my dinner, I can grab one and pick up some other groceries and I have dinner and maybe even lunch the next day depending on the side dishes and how big the sandwich was!

Monday, June 18, 2012

6-11-2012 Ikea

Due to the canceled Ikea trip yesterday, I went out there by myself after work.  There was something comforting about it.  I could walk around and get some ideas.  I could get some things without spending much money.  I ran low on time so I found myself racing around through the aisles to find the boxed stuff that I had seen upstairs in the showroom.

I didn't find or get quite everything that I needed but I plan on going back.

So, I was grateful that this place was there and I could go and get away for a while.

6-10-2012 Sunday With the Boys

I was grateful just to do whatever today with the boys.  We had planned on going to Ikea to look for a few new furnishings for the house.  But, Thomas wasn't feeling too well.  So, we swam, we hung out, I did a few chores. 

I was grateful for this easy Sunday with the boys.

6-9-2012 Drum Lessons

So, my youngest one takes drum lessons, and sometimes I take him.  They go to a really cool place called Ramblin Rhodes.  There are lesson rooms off to the side and a good sized stage in the middle of the room.  When I'm sitting there waiting I always feel like I'm away from my usual life's ruts.  It somehow reminds me of high school and makes me think of how important it is to add different dimensions to one's life.  It also reminds me that there is more to life than whatever problems I might be going through - there is the sound of drums, and that's a pretty powerful sound.

If you ever need to feel a sound that goes through you and feels like a heartbeat, listen to some drums.

I'm grateful for those drum lessons.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

6-8-2012 Frozen tortellini (or ravioli) and Sauce from a Jar

Some people might cringe when the read that subject.  Sauce from a jar !??  Frozen pasta ?!  Yikes!!

Well, it is better than getting fast food out and sauce from a jar has come a long way from what it used to be.  Add a salad and maybe some garlic bread and it's kind of like a home cooked meal.

You can't eat out all the time and until the list of foods you can cook from scratch increases, it's nice to have some things you can rely on, for that I am grateful.

6-7-2012 My Friend Joe

Joe is a good friend.  He was my first running buddy.  He introduced himself to me at a neighborhood party and told me about a running group that he would sometimes run with.  So, I ran with him and the group and we've traveled twice to marathons together - once to Jacksonville and once to Boston.  Some times it's a while before we see each other but we'll run into each other and seem to get along just fine as if no time went by.

He saw me last week and invited me to meet for beer and wings and some catching up.  Joe is a good guy and I'm grateful for him.

6-6-2012 The kids Tae Kwon Do Instructor

I looked back and didn't see any entry for this, but if I missed it, it is worth repeating.  The kids have been going to Tae Kwon Do for quite some time now and have had the same instructor.  He is a great guy and has watched them grow and also helped.  I think he helps me grow sometimes too even though I'm just there watching.  But, I see the lessons, both physical and mental/emotional that he teaches and sometimes learn something myself.

The past couple of months I have been taking them quite a bit which has helped them with consistency and gives us time to do some bonding - driving to and from, seeing what they are up to and sometimes Smoothie King afterward.

Craig - the instructor, has been one of those "constants" that are good to have in life to help keep things anchored, especially as changes happen.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

6-5-2012 Wendy's Baked Potatoes

For dinner I had a small chili and a baked potato from Wendy's.  The baked potato half of the meal makes you feel like you are eating a real dinner even though it was drive-through and only cost $2.50.

For the convenience, value, nutrition, and the feeling that you ate an actual meal instead of just drive-thru, I am grateful for Wendy's baked potatoes (the baked sweet potatoes are awesome also)

6-4-2012 Ice Cream

Especially ice cream at home from a carton.  Nothing fancy, just ice cream.  I used to be a little more picky and only really appreciate a hot fudge sundae out some place.

But, you can't always get that.  Some times you just get a bowl of ice cream at home.  The kids like ice cream.  I like ice cream.

And, as one of the many little things in life that make life nice, I am grateful for ice cream!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

6-3-2012 Vacuuming

Sometimes, when things seem so messy it looks hopeless, all you have to do is run the vacuum for a bit and then it doesn't look so bad.  There's still lots to do, but at least it doesn't look so bad.

Today and yesterday, I was amazed at the power of vacuuming and therefore grateful for it.

6-2-2012 My Kids

I have mentioned my kids at various times, but I was thinking about how grateful I am for them.  They both did some pretty amazing things today.  My life is so much richer in many ways because of them.

Friday, June 1, 2012

5-25-2012 Shade on a hot day.

It was hot outside today.  I took my short walk to the thinking pond.  Walking across the asphalt parking lot I could feel the sun beating down.

Then, I reached the shade, and although just a few feet away from where it felt so hot, and still outside, it was completely different.

What a difference the shade made.

Sometimes, you may find yourself outside on a hot day, far from any shade and you'll wish there was a tree nearby or something to block the sun.

Finding that shade makes you realize what a difference it can make.

I'm definitely grateful for shade on a hot day.

6-1-2012 Birds Chirping in the Morning


I know I've already done an entry for birds.

But, this morning, after I got up and was sitting down at my kitchen table (which I'm about to lose - although that is such a small problem) - I heard the birds chirping outside.  It was still dark out, just barely.

Almost everywhere I've been, I can remember at some point hearing birds chirping outside in the morning - Rochester, NY,  Athens, GA, Dallas, TX, here in Florida.  I guess everywhere except for when out at sea while in the Navy and on the cruise back in January.

Hearing the birds in the morning is a reminder that a new day is starting, that life goes on, and there is a life outside of your own.  There are things to listen to besides electronics and nature is just outside your door.  The birds are also reminding me that it will soon be light outside.

All this good stuff from just a few birds making some noise.


There!  Now I'm caught up. Ok, not really, but I thought I would try a new strategy.  Every time I was close to catching up I would then fall behind again.  So, now I am doing an entry for today and will do an entry every day from now on.

I might go back and fill some in, but for now I'm going to just say that I'm caught up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

5-15-2012 Choices

It's nice to have choices.
But, it's even better to realize that we ALWAYS have choices.
It's important to remember this.

When I read East Of Eden I learned the lesson again, with the key word timshel , we may do something if we choose.

Of course, sometimes choices are pleasant either way and presented to us in a fancy looking font - "would you like the steak or lobster tonight? how about both?"

Those kinds of choices are nice, too!

I'm grateful for choices.

5-14-2012 Being Behind

Today is actually 5-22-2012.  Last week I was almost caught up with this blog and was hoping that after that I would do one entry per day.

It's not good to be behind.  Usually.

But, there are something's good about it, like:
1. you get to catch up
2. you have the company of everyone else who is behind
3. It makes you appreciate being caught up

So,  right now, 8 days behind, I'm going to be grateful for that very thing!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5-13-2012 Moms

Today was mother's day.  I'm grateful for all of the moms out there, the mom to my kids, my mom, my mom-in-law, my friends moms.

Kind of pointless to ponder the "what-ifs" about if there were on moms, because that just doesn't make any sense!

I'm grateful for moms and all they do for everyone.

5-12-2012 Burgers on the Grill

Not too much else needed to be said here, except what makes it even nicer is if your son asked for them for dinner and was looking forward to them.  Then, they taste at least twice as good!

I'm grateful for burgers on the grill.

5-11-2012 Quiet Times to Think

It's nice when the day is almost over, and it kind of feels like you've accomplished something, so you feel a little bit relaxed, and maybe everyone else has gone to bed.

The house sounds quiet, but not in a lonely kind of way (that kind of quiet can actually be distracting or at least depressing). 

So, you find yourself with a few minutes to think about the day and reflect before going to sleep.

Of course, there are other times like that, but right now is that time, when it's quiet, it's almost time for bed and there's a little bit of time to think.

I'm grateful for those quiet times to think.

5-10-2012 A nice washer and dryer set

Well, I would still be grateful for having any washer and dryer, as many people do not have them and instead need to go to the laundromat.  However, since I do have a nice washer and dryer set I'm twice as grateful!

The old set was pretty good, but was slowly going downhill, and the dryer would take maybe 3 hours to dry a load (some of this was fixed after the vents got cleaned!!  (ok, there's another topic, routine maintenance!)).

The new set (about 2 years old now) is awesome.

But, the best part is the musical chiming noises it makes when starting and finishing, it makes doing the laundry feel like you are playing a video game.

So, I am grateful for owning a washer and dryer, but even more so since it is a nice set!

5-9-2012 Backyard Bananas

When I was in high school, and worked at a lawn and garden store, I liked to either purchase, or rescue from the dumpster, tropical plants to put in my room.  I bought/or rescued banana plants and had some luck growing them, but could never really keep them going forever.

But now, living in Florida, not that long after moving into the house I put in one plant in the corner of the backyard, and it is now a good sized patch of banana plants.  Right now, there are bunches of bananas already forming.

I'm grateful for these bananas growing right in the back yard.

5-8-2012 Things that Could have Fallen apart but Didn't

So, today, finally I was able to get my boat to a repair shop.  Among other things that needed servicing, the boat trailer probably was long overdue to have its bearings repacked.  Bad things can happen when this is neglected.  You can end up becoming "that guy" on the side of the road with the boat about to fall over because the wheel has come off on one side of the trailer.

To compound this drama, I feel terribly that I'm in this situation, since I'm incredibly lucky to have been able to buy a boat in the first place, but then to not use it and let things go like that, ughhhhh....

Oh well, time for action.

The wheels did not come off and I'm finally one step further to at least getting this small fiasco sorted out, now if everything else was just this easy!!

However, looking at this from the bright side, I'm grateful about these things, where it could have fallen apart but did not!!

5-7-2012 My Friend Dixie

I ran with a friend of mine this morning.  We ran in a neighborhood which is about halfway from each of our homes and there are a few rolling hills (pretty rare around here).  We used to run together here every Monday for quite some time, especially when he was training for his last marathon.  For various reasons it had been quite some time since we met and did this route.

When people hear the name Dixie, they sometimes mistake him for a woman or even a dog!

But, Dixie has kind of a special quality about him, a truly positive spirit.  He might be talking about a car accident, brain surgery, trouble making ends meet, or any number of crises (come to think of it, he does seem to get more than his fair share).  But, while he's talking about these things, there's always a hint of optimism and if at all possible, a hint of happiness at things not being worse than they are.  If someone can be happy through the worst of times, they must be doing something right.

So, today, and many other times I am grateful for my friend Dixie.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

5-6-2012 Kids that Grow Up

When I first moved down here, the guy at the office who helped hire me, took me out on his boat, along with his son.  It was a nice way to get to see the waters nearby.

After the boat ride,  my friend was getting his boat ready to be put away and I accidentally spilled his sons snack.  My friends son was so little then, he looked at me and said, "that's ok don't worry about it, it was just an accident."

Ok, maybe he didn't say those exact words but something like that.

So, today, there was my friend from work and his son, but now, this son who is no longer a little kid was there to help out.

We had to tow my boat to the boat ramp.  My friend drove his boat to tow mine, his son sat in my boat to steer it while being towed, and I drove my truck and trailer to the boat ramp.

Everything worked fine and my friends son did a great job.

Where was that little boy whose snack I spilled?

Sometimes people think it's said to see kids grow up.

But, sometimes you see it a different way and are grateful for kids that grow up.

5-5-2012 Things that Wait

Like a good number of boat owners, mine has gone unused for far too long.  It's the worst thing you can do for a boat unless perhaps if you are diligent about preparing it for storage.

Long overdue for taking action, which makes it harder and harder, I finally had to do something.

First stop was the trailer for the boat, sitting all by itself in the storage yard.  I had to make sure I had the wiring adapter, the code to the yard, the key for the trailer pad lock, the hitch itself, and I hoped the trailer was in towing shape.  I had checked it out about a year ago, but was still a bit worried.

But, somehow, there it was ready and waiting, still working.  Got in ok, hooked it up, lights worked, nothing was stuck and I was on my way.  I dropped it off at my parents place, all ready to take on the next step, which was to get the boat out of the water, onto the trailer and off to a repair shop.

It's nice when you go back to get something which has been sitting, and it's still there.

It's a small thing of course, but still nice.  I'm grateful for things that wait.

5-4-2012 Spin racer

About 9 years ago almost (I think), I was on a business trip at a customer sight.  I had gotten little sleep and was stressed out trying to solve some problem.

My wife had gone out of town with the kids to go visit her sister.

While I was working on this problem, all of the sudden I had sort of this flushing feeling going up and down my left side, through my shoulder, down my arm.  I didn't know what was happening, I thought maybe a heart attack or a stroke.  I was able to calm down enough while at lunch and took some aspirin just in case.

This would be the start of over a year of worrying about my health which was made worse by a glitch during a stress test.

Anyway, I somehow made it home from the business trip (with the help of a few glasses of wine on the flight).

Jenny and the boys came home the next morning.

In the back bedroom upstairs we had this toy race car set up which had cars which were spring loaded.  You could release the cars on the track and they'd go through a couple of loops and turns.  A played with this toy set called spin racer with Andy, and somehow it made any problems I was having at the time temporarily disappear and it gave me a new outlook.

It did take a while to completely get the heart attack/stroke nonsense out of my head, but that morning with Andy and spin racer was the first moment when things seemed ok.

5-3-2012 Lt Dan

No, not that Lt. Dan, not the one from the movie Forrest Gump.  I knew a Lt. Dan in real life.  When I was in the Navy, one of my room mates on the ship was the XO (executive officer) of the marine detachment on board the ship.  He was a big tough guy with a rough exterior but with a good heart on the inside.

When we first met, we did not get along well at all.  It looked like things were going to be miserable.  A lot of things already weren't going well and it just seemed like things were going to go from bad to worse.

Then something happened, I'm not sure exactly what, but we somehow became friends.

Dan was a good guy.  It was nice to be friends with the biggest and toughest guy on the ship.

It's really a gift when the right people come into your life when you need them.

5-2-2012 Wild Blackberries

While pulling out some weeds in the backyard, and thinking about planting some things in the square foot gardens I saw just over the fence some wild blackberry plants.  I went through the gate but the weeds had gotten pretty high back there.  I cut through the weeds and made it to where the blackberries were.  I picked some that were ripe and weeded around them so they could thrive.

When we first moved here, before we had the fence installed we found some blackberries, so many that there were enough to make a dessert with.  They seem to have not really left.  It was like finding a forgotten treasure.

I was grateful for finding these

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5-1-2012 "GICK!" and other nonsense words

Once upon a time, when my oldest son was very little, he started this thing where he said I should say the word "gick" on the first day of each month.

I have no idea what the word was supposed to mean, but we say it, at least someone usually remembers on the first day of each month.  I guess it means happy first day of the new month.

Nonsense words are fun and they can take on their own meaning.

I'm grateful for gick and other nonsense words like them.

4-30-2012 "follow me to Boston" Kenny

This is a flashback post, something that popped into my mind.
Back in 2008 I was trying to qualify to run the Boston marathon and was "planning" on running a 3:15 at the San Diego marathon in June.  Sometime in April I injured myself and had to take some time off.  With physical therapy and a few good sports massages, I was able to get back in shape enough where I could at least complete the race which I had signed up for already and had plane tickets and a place to stay arranged (my brother's house in Carlsbad).

On race day I felt a little bit better than I thought I would.  Headed down the hill from Balboa park into San Diego's gas light district.  I came up behind a man running with no shirt on who had written in marker on his back "Follow me to Boston!! 3:20 or bust".

The man's name was Kenny and I followed him, and suddenly the running felt easy and I was really enjoying the day while running at a nice pace.

I didn't quite make it to the Boston time that day (had a 3:24), but it was one of the best marathons I ever ran as far as feeling good and being able to do more than I thought I was capable of.

I'm grateful for "follow me to Boston" Kenny.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

4-29-2012 Rediscovering a Favorite

Sometimes, when you think you've seen and done it all (which of course you haven't!) it's good to rediscover something that you did a long time ago and experience it again.

My parents were about to head out of town and then back up north for the summer and wanted to have dinner with us, so they picked a restaurant which we used to go to but not for a long time.

It's a place called the Lucky Dill Deli (a New York city style deli), and I'm not sure how long it had been since we were last there.  The kids remember it but they were pretty small the last time we went.

It felt new and familiar at the same time.  I think I'll go back there again soon.

I was grateful today to rediscover and old favorite.

4-28-2012 A Chance To Lead

I'm not often the one leading people out on new adventures or new experiences, I'm usually more of a one on one type of person in a supporting role.

But, today I had a chance to do something a little bit different.  99% of the people associated with the group I run with usually sticks to the main biking path in the park where we often run.  But, there is also a network of miles and miles of off road trails.  The paths are pretty wide and dry, often with good tree cover for shade.  There's some sections of very sandy stretches which can be a challenge to run on.



But, a lot of people are afraid to try these trails because of many unknowns.  The routes aren't well known, they think they need special equipment, special shoes, there will be too many bugs.  I used to think I'd have to run through a lot of swamp.

However, there is some pretty mild easy sections that don't require anything special other than to try it out.

So, I offered to take a couple of people on a stretch of trail.  The couple of people turned into about 8 people and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.

I used to be one of those people, afraid to try those trails.  But, one day I went along with some other people, saw they were actually quite pleasant.

Today, it was my turn to lead some other people so they could see for themselves.

I was grateful for this chance to lead.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

4-27-2012 Intentions Kept

Sometimes you say you are going to do something but then don't get around to it.  Eventually it seems it is all but forgotten.  About 4 years ago, Andy was reading a book for school and something about the cover drew me to it.  The book was on loan from the library and I said I wanted to read it but did not get around to it.  I often thought about reading it.  Finally, last week I went to the library and checked it out.

It was a wonderful book and had some valuable lessons about looking for the wondrous things that are right around you.




So many times we have the best intentions and they get swept aside, but sometimes we remember, and for those times, I am grateful.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

4-26-2012 Perspective

I had some bad news today, and then later heard about someone who has much worse problems than I do, a friend who is dying.   It help put things into perspective about what is really important and those things which will eventually move on.  It is sad about my friend but also she is the kind of person who I think would be grateful that she is helping someone.

I'm grateful for perspective.

4-25-2012 My Thinking Pond

I go here each day during work, usually just a few minutes...
It's not necessarily always my happy place (sometimes it is), but it is a place to be alone, think about things, and watch a turtle or maybe a duck going about their business


I'm grateful for this spot.

Monday, April 30, 2012

4-24-2012 Chocolate Chip Cookies

After work, in the evening after all she had to do, Jenny had time for one more thing, to whip up a batch of from scratch chocolate chip cookies.  There are fancier cookies, and there are healthier cookies, but chocolate chip cookies to me are the best especially when the chocolate is still a little bit melty.

I'm not sure why exactly, I guess it is the comfort cookie for me.

I'm grateful for chocolate chip cookies and as well as the people that make them.

4-23-2012 My Hygienist

Today was semi annual dental cleaning day.  I used to really dread going, but now I am only slightly apprehensive.  My hygienist has a good mix of praise and pointing out what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong, is mostly pleasant and generally makes the time go by pretty quickly.

I certainly don't dread going any more which means I might get to keep my teeth for a long time.

So, for those and maybe some other reasons I am forgetting, I am grateful for my dental hygienist!

4-22-2012 Spring planting

I had the urge to buy a few plants and plant them.  Where last years plants used to be were just the brown remnants and some weeds.  I made some room, pulled out the old stuff and some more weeds, including the wild vines that were starting to cover the back fence.

I just put in a few things, some raspberry bushes, a pepper plant and a new tomato plant.  But, while doing this discovered some wild blackberries growing behind the fence.  I cut a path back there and was able to pick a few, hopefully I'll get some more.  I hope to get some more plants put in , little by little.

Spending time in the back yard, putting in these new plants and clearing out the old stuff felt, for lack of a better word, good.

I'm grateful for spring planting.

4-21-2012 Garlic

Jenny took the boys out to their Parkour class.  She left out the recipe for dinner, so I thought I'd see if I could prepare it.  I kind of chickened out (pun intended, it was chicken), but I did separate the garlic into cloves and peeled each one.  Just getting this far filled the house with a pleasant garlic smell.

When Jenny cooked the dinner, the smell was even stronger and brings back memories of so many good meals featuring lots and lots of garlic.

With this dinner, the cloves turned soft and had a mild taste. 

So, today I was grateful for garlic.

4-20-2012 Tomatoes

I am grateful for tomatoes, from the store, or the back yard, from a can, or made into spaghetti or pizza sauce. 

Jenny's dad gave us a hanging tomato planter which I've put new plants in the past two falls, so there have been fresh tomatoes right outside the back door. 

It started falling apart, so I didn't replant it this spring but found a big huge tomato plant in a basket at Walmart for just 5.00 which I've hung up and have already eaten a couple of the tomatoes with more on the way.

Sometimes I pick these tomatoes and Thomas likes to snack on them.

4-19-2012 Rain

It has been a bit dry around here compared to what we usually get, but there is some rain on the way.  Florida depends a lot on rain, like most places do.

Rain also refreshes and cools us.  It helps to dampen the pollen which is at a peak right now.

Good clean, cool water falling down from the sky, something to be grateful for!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

4-18-2012 Vultures

Yes, that's right vultures.  They get a pretty bad rap.  And metaphorically speaking, are not well liked.  But, real life vultures are pretty amazing.  They are quickly on the scene to clean up the unfortunate deer, racoon, or other animal that didn't quite make it across the road.  Someone would have to clean up the mess if the vultures were around.

I don't think they are creepy or ugly, I think they are pretty amazing.

I'm grateful for vultures every time I see them out doing their job.

4-17-2012 weather.com

I really enjoy and appreciate being able to look at the forecast whenever I want, look at the hour by hour for temperature and chance of rain.  You used to have to wait for the weather reports, now you can check whenever you need to.  It's pretty amazing.

My son is also fascinated with the weather and checks it each morning when he wakes up.  I guess a lot of people do also.

I'm grateful for weather.com

4-16-2012 Grapes

When we took the road trip to Miami recently, on the drive home we stopped at the grocery store for some snacks.  Andy I and picked out some pretty junky stuff, while Thomas decided that grapes would be a good snack, and they were.  It was a hot day and the grapes were a refreshing snack.

Grapes also make wine :-)

...and grape juice

... and grape jam

I am grateful for grapes!!

4-15-2012 Miniature Golf

Took the boys mini-golfing this morning.  It was a place called Congo River Golf, themed to exploring the Congo river.  Waterfalls, caves, old planes, wrecked boats, masks, shields and spears.
Great to be a kid for a morning.  Laughing and thinking about how fun it is and using your imagination.
They also had alligators that you can feed - small pieces of hot dogs on a string attached to a stick.  Don't try this out in the wild of course!!! But, at the mini-golf course in Florida, of course!  Enjoy and have fun.

Be grateful for mini golf courses.

4-14-2012 Trails

I did part of my run this morning on trails.  It was a spur of the moment decision.  I was going to run on the paved bike path, but all of the sudden as we passed by a trailhead, I thought, why not. 

Trails have that allure.  Whenever I see one I kind of wonder, where does it go, who made it, how long has it been there?

They can be narrow or wide, in a field or in the woods.  You can see a small strip where the ground has been packed down and you see a small strip of dirt where the vegetation used to be.  Others have been there before, others who saw this trail and decided to take it.

It was a fun diversion and made me realize how grateful I am for trails.

4-13-2012 Biking To School

We live close enough to my son's school, that the best way to get there is on bike.  It's usually faster than driving and is a great way to enjoy the morning and spend a few extra minutes of time with him.  This morning was another breakfast with Dad morning which made it even better.

When I was growing up, it was pretty rare to bike to school (just did it a few times when I missed the bus), so I appreciate being able to do this with my kids.

I am grateful for biking to school.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

4-12-2012 An average day

Since I am back-filling this blog again and am determined to not fall behind again, I try to think of something that happened that day that somehow stood out or popped into my head - maybe something we don't think about or appreciate but should be grateful for.

I wasn't coming up with anything, and maybe something did happen, but then I thought about it and maybe it was just an average day.

Average days are actually kind of rare, they are usually at least a little bit better or a little bit worse then average, along with the extremes of the days you wished would never end and the days you'd like to forget.

But, on the average day, you don't run late for work, you don't put your foot in your mouth, you don't stub your toe or get soap in your eyes, you don't win the lottery or get the perfect spot at the grocery store, and you don't get that email with unexpected good news, you don't have a personal crisis or see someone close to you have a hard day.  Things just go along.

Might be kind of boring if every day was an average day, but they aren't, so life is not boring.

But, for when they do happen, why not, be a little bit grateful, maybe an average amount.

4-11-2012 Good Neighbors

Some people live out in the country and might not have any neighbors, some people have neighbors they don't like.

Right now, we have the best neighbors that we've ever had.

It's part of what makes a house a home.

We chat sometimes, sometimes our dogs bark at each other but neither one of us gets upset.

This morning I spent some time talking to my neighbor, some sad news about his brother passing away unexpectedly, it was very sad but I hope it helped for him to tell someone.  It made me appreciate life and family and how little time we have.

Good neighbors are a treasure which I am grateful for.

Monday, April 16, 2012

4-10-2012 Recovery

Sometimes you are hurting for some reason or another, but with some rest, food, and water, your body has an amazing ability to heal itself.  Recovery happens faster when you are younger, slows down a little as you age but still pretty much works the same.

Good thing we can recover, and usually with recovery we get stronger.  I felt pretty good this morning while running just a few days after running in a 50 mile race, it could have taken a lot longer.

So, today I'm grateful for recovery!!  (especially when it is quick)

4-9-2012 Flexible Spending Account

For a number of years I didn't even participate in this, and eventually I put in a little and a little bit more.

You get to put in money before tax and spend it on stuff that insurance doesn't cover but you need - like braces for your kid, for example, or copays.

There are ways to deduct medical expenses, but unless you rack up huge bills it's usually impossible.  But, with FSA, the works pretty much already done for you (just need to remember to save the receipts).

So, as I paid the bill for my sons braces today, I was grateful for FSA

4-8-2012 Easter - the Resurrection

This may be old news for a lot of people, but finally at age 45, after years of Catholic school education, and countless church services, Catholic and otherwise, this Easter Sunday it dawned on me how great Easter is.

I think the problem is the order in which they teach things.  By the time they get to the resurrection you've already learned about God and how Jesus is God and can walk on water, so of course he can rise from the dead (I know I'm kind of simplifying things here).

But, if you take it out of context and think about it, it's pretty amazing, some guy executed by crucifixion simply getting up a few days after dying.

It also made me think about the symbolism how sometimes what seems impossible and hopeless can suddenly just rise from the dead.

Not sure why it took so long for me to figure this out, but, better late than never.

Today, I was truly grateful for Easter and the story of the resurrection.

4-7-2012 Ice

There were so many things to be thankful for today.  I ran a 50 mile race and it got pretty hot out but I managed to survive and do pretty well despite not starting very smartly.

So, of all the things I could be grateful for, I'll pick ice.

I brought some ice with me to keep a few drinks cold in a small cooler.  The race passed by the starting area a few times.  At the start of the last loop I grabbed a few pieces of ice, some I put in my pocket and one I held in my hand to help cool me down.

I thought about how "cool" ice is, how it can keep things fresh and cool you down.  Ice was my friend today and it provided just enough comfort to keep me going.

So, on this kind of warm almost hot day when I needed cooling down, I was grateful for ice.

Friday, April 13, 2012

4-6-2012 Pre Race Pasta

Jenny made pasta for dinner - tortellini, along with a side of garlic bread.  Big race the next day all trails.  Pasta isn't the only thing one could eat before a race (I've had luck with baked potatoes and subway sandwiches, too).

However, there is something about pasta the night before a race that makes it just that much more special.  It gets your mind ready as well as helping you load up on some carbs.

I'm grateful for pre-race pasta!

4-5-2012 Someone Waiting For You





Jenny and the boys just left for Orlando and I'm about to head out to work.  Sammy doesn't know how long we'll be gone.  Dogs don't really care for the sight of suitcases being loaded into a car.  But dogs will wait for us, they are good at that.  They are also good and being so happy once you get home they seem to completely forget that the wait seemed like forever!

When you have a dog, there will always be someone waiting patiently at home for you to come back, and I am grateful for that!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

4-4-2012 Beaches (and people who get me to go)

Today we went to the beach for a short visit.  My youngest wanted to go.  The older one not so much.  I myself am not a beach initiator but am always glad once we go.  It was a short drive (and a surprisingly easy one) from the hotel to Miami Beach.  Found a beach access spot and random and parking was easy.  It was still early out and although warm, not yet hot.






I didn't have towels, but we did have our swimsuits at least (although I was happy to just get my feet in the water)




Seeing the beach-goers, hearing the surf, and feeling the sand beneath your feet, but most of all seeing your soon enjoying the beach and making some memories. 

I'm grateful for the beach and the people who get me to go.

4-3-2012 Upgrades

There was a lot to be thankful for today, so it is hard to pick just one, so I'm sort of picking a random one.  Today was day one of a road trip with my two boys.  I took two days off from work.  My kids were off school and my wife was going to be working mon-wed with an overnight trip planned for them on thu-fri when I'd be working and staying home with the dog.

So, today I was offered an upgrade, and I took it.  Checked into a hotel, which was very nice.  I had signed up for an offer that said if they had available nicer rooms you could get them at a huge discount.  So, the hotel put us on the very top floor with a giant picture window looking out over Miami and access to the "club" room which had free drinks and food in the evening and for breakfast.

Many times in life, you stand in line, you get what you pay for.  That is fair and good and as it should be.  Sometimes, you don't quite get what you had hoped for or expected, and that's ok because it just happens that way sometimes.

Then, sometimes, out of the blue almost, it works out, and you end up with more than you hoped for, you get that room at the top floor.  Who knows if there would ever be a trip like this again.  Kids grow up fast and things change quickly.

But, every now and then, enjoy a little extra if the opportunity comes up, and be grateful for that, extremely grateful!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

4-2-2012 That Excited Feeling Getting Ready for a Trip

We were just going to be gone overnight, taking a little road trip across Florida, the boys and I.  Grabbed a suitcase, packed some snacks, planned the route and updated some music to listen to.

If something bad is about to happen, then the waiting for it can be horrible.

However, the same thing in the opposite way is true of good things, like taking a fun trip.  Enjoy that feeling, it's almost like starting the vacation early!!

I'm grateful for that excited feeling getting ready for a trip.

4-1-2012 Paint

I painted a section of fence today that really needed it.  I also was able to get my son to help me.  The section of fence looked pretty bad.  I could see it each morning while looking out the kitchen window and while sitting on the back porch. Eventually I thought enough is enough, time to paint.

I had to pull some weeds and clean off some mold, as well as nail some loose boards back on before painting.  So, between the prep work for the painting and the actually paint, the little corner of the backyard went from eyesore to white, bright, and new looking.

Painting really made a big difference.  I think about all the times I've painted something and how much I've learned the value of paint.

I am grateful for paint.

3-31-2012 Helpful Retail Staff

I went into a big home improvement store to buy a light bulb for the kitchen.  I wanted to try a new LED bulb and had some questions. The guy at the store was so helpful and seemed to know everything there was to know about light bulbs.

But, the most important thing was that he didn't make me feel stupid, he seemed to enjoy his job and I walked away knowing a little bit more about what I had asked.

I used to work in a store a long time ago, selling plants, fertilizer, bird seed, dog food, and lots of other things.  People had questions, other people that worked at the store had answers, and there were books to consult and we had some training.  I learned a lot while working there and enjoyed helping people walk away with what they needed.

I try not to bother people too much when I shop, but when I need to ask something and someone really takes the time to help me out and treat me like a person, I am truly grateful.

3-30-2012 Board Games

The game "Battle Ship" came up in conversation and it made me think about how great board games are, and how they even survive today in a world of smartphones, gaming consoles, PC's and everything imaginable.

I thought of the lessons that they teach kids (and adults) about how to follow rules, interact with each other and enjoy playtime.  I hope they never go away, the board games or the lessons.

I am grateful for board games.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

3-29-2012 Second Winds

This morning when I ran, I felt sluggish starting out.  But, after a while I caught my second wind and felt fresh.

What a concept, second winds.  You get them when least expecting them and when you need them most.  All of the sudden, you just feel newer and fresher or more awake. 

You can't really force a second wind, they just sort of happen.

But, it's good to remember this lesson the next time you feel worn down, maybe there will be a second wind.

I am grateful for this.

3-28-2012 Second Times

I went to a spin class again this morning.  The first time I went I felt very awkward and it was extremely hard for me, but I gave it another try.

And, it was a lot better.

Sometimes, when you try something and it's hard,  you might want to not do it again.  But, once you go through the unknowns and finding out how much you don't know, you might find the second time around is much better.

I'm grateful for second times, especially when they work out.  Something to remember the next time you try something for the first time and you think, no way, never again.  Maybe the second time will be much better.

3-27-2012 Mistake averted

This morning I was grateful for just barely missing a mistake.  I had confused Tuesday and Thursday and thought that I was going into work early on Tuesday and Jenny was going to take Thomas to school.  After my run, I quickly and efficiently got ready to leave and was going to drop Andy off at the bus stop.  As we were heading outside I yelled "goodbye" to Jenny as I was heading out the door.  "Wait!!" she said.  "You are supposed to take Thomas to school today".  Oh, yeah, looks like I got mixed up.

What a pain it would have been if I had made it out the door before it was too late.

For this one, and all the other close call mistakes that have been averted, I am grateful.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

3-26-2012 AAA

I'm grateful for AAA.  I don't use them very often, but when I do, it's when I really need them, or at least makes my life a lot easier.  Had a flat tire on my truck.  Looks like the week for car problems.  I started to change the tire myself and could have sworn I had changed a tire on my truck before but must not have because everything seemed new to me about it, like where the tools were, and how to get the jack out, and how to disconnect the spare from the cable that held it on.
Got most of the way done, and was then unsure about where to put the jack.  I studied the manual a bit then finally decided to call AAA.
They got out right away and finished changing the tire.
I think I could have finished it myself, but it was some stress I didn't need, so I was very grateful that they came out and gave me a hand.

3-25-2012 Movies

I'm grateful for movies, especially in a theater.

I forget about movies, going out to see movies, and that whole experience.  We saw the "Hunger Games" which even Thomas liked even though he hates going to see movies.

3-24-2012 Jumper Cables

I got back from my run and saw a text from Jenny that her car wouldn't start.   I was hoping it was just the battery.  So, I hooked up the jumper cables between her car and my truck and it pretty much just started right up.

Andy asked me how I got her Jenny's car started and I told him about the jumper cables which he didn't really know that we had.  I'll have to walk him through it sometime before he learns how to drive!

So, I was grateful for those jumper cables, how to use them, and that we have a second vehicle to jump start from.

(although I would later find out I could have called AAA, told them I needed a new battery and they would have brought one out to me and installed the new one).

Oh well, the car did need some new front tires and it was time for an oil change, and I had the time, so no problem to go run over to the dealership and wait.