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.

3-23-2012 Father - Son special Dinner Out

My oldest son was going to hang out at his Parkour gym with another friend and Jenny had to work.  So, it was just myself and younger son.  He often times wants to go out to a Japanese/Chinese restaurant nearby, he loves rice and sushi.  Most of the time when he asks to go, at least someone, if not everyone else does not want to go.  Although it is a nice restaurant, it's a little more expensive than going to a lot of other places and people aren't always in the mood for sushi.

But tonight, it was just the two of us.  We had a great time, ordered a plate of sushi and some sweet and sour chicken.  It was just the right amount of food and we both enjoyed it.

It was a nice treat for him and I.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

3-22-2012 Rainbows

I was driving home for work and coming up to the traffic light that I always have to wait at, anywhere from 4 to 8 minutes and sometimes 12 (4 minute cycle).  I was looking toward the east and saw a rainbow.  Makes being stuck in traffic not so bad.  Not only did I see a rainbow, but I was listening to music on the car stereo, I had recently loaded all of my music on the usb drive that plugs into it, and the song "Roy G. Biv" by They Might Be Giants came on.

 It's a song for kids singing about the colors of the rainbow and the mnemonic device for remember the colors.   Interesting coincidence (I also wondered if it really was, I mean all of what had to happen to have that song come on just as I was driving toward the rainbow).

 I also thought about the day we were driving home from the weekend vet after having to put our dog Chelsea to sleep and we saw a rainbow in the sky around this same spot.

It's funny how I, nor anyone else I know can't not appreciate a rainbow, it makes the moment feel special and memorable.

3-21-2012 Music

I love listening to music.  I listen to it at work, when I wake up with my clock radio, when I'm driving and when I'm running.  There is background music and then there's music which really moves you.  Music to be happy with and music to remember.  If my day is not going well and I feel like I'm in a rut, then turning on the music can get me thinking about something else and then I come back to whatever the problem was but with a new perspective and new energy.  I just have to remember to switch it on.

When I'm doing a long run, I like to get into the run first, and then about half way through or later, turn on the music and let it help to move me along.  Music does so much for us, it does a lot for me.
I'm grateful for music.

3-20-2012 Inexpensive Mass storage devices

Yes, usb memory sticks, thumb drives, whatever you call them.  They are pretty handy and they can hold more and more stuff all the time.  When the cd player in my truck stopped working a while ago it stayed broken for a while.  Then instead of putting an original factory radio, a got a new radio/cd player for less money than a factory unit.  The new one also came with a place to plug in a usb thumb drive.  I had one that I got for $16 and could fit more than every song I own.  It's amazing how these small things can hold so much.  There's lots of little things like this that exist that we hardly even think about any more.  This is just one of them.  I'm grateful for these little, inexpensive mass storage devices.

3-19-2012 Butterflies

I think that sometimes people forget that butterflies are insects, they are pretty much in a category by themselves.  I went out for a walk at lunch today and saw a few butterflies.  They are like a magnet for your eyes where when you think you see one you just have to stop what your thinking about or doing and take a look, even if only for a few seconds.  You don't have to drive out to the country, to the beach, or to the mountains, they just show up wherever you are sometimes, even if just walking in the parking lot outside the office.

I'm grateful for butterflies.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3-18-2012 Learning things from Spongebob

You can learn all sorts of things from watching Spongebob.  They can be life lessons, how to solve problems, how to accept life's challenges.

Sometimes, you might learn something specific and surprising, sometimes you hear a line and have to pause and replay it to catch the words -

"4/4 string ostinato in D-minor, every sailor knows that means certain death"

From the episode "Clams" which is a spoof on the move "Jaws"

What the heck is an ostinato? So, I go look it up, and now I will always know what it is.

3-17-2012 Parents who are Still There for You

I wanted to be gone a little bit longer on Saturday for my run, drive a little farther away and go running on the trails where my race will be.  My son has bowling on Saturday mornings and my wife is busy with Saturday morning clients at work, so I have bowling duty.

So, I called up my parents yesterday, my Dad answered.

Hey Dad, can you take Thomas bowling tomorrow?  You can? no problem? that's great, thanks Dad!

Nice that they live nearby and are ready and willing to help and be there for me.

So, even though I'm "on my own" and "grown up", my parents are still my parents.

3-16-2012 Chocolate

I love chocolate, it goes great in many ways, a big bar, small bite size pieces, melted over ice cream, chunks melted inside cookies or brownies.

It's also a mood altering drug.  A little bit at just the right time can change your perspective.

Chocolate can be sophisticated, imported, gourmet - or it can be every day like a Hershey's bar, semi-sweet chocolate chips that are supposed to be for baking but since the bag is open are fair game.

So, here's to chocolate!  I am grateful for that stuff.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

3-15-2012 Dinner out with Work

Every once in a while our office staff gets invited out.  One of the head honchos from the main office was in town, so we were all invited out to a sports bar nearby after work.  We talked about work and non work stuff and enjoyed lots of good food and drink.  I ate a little too much food (which in one way was good since I had been feeling a nutrition deficit since the 100k race a few weeks ago) but it was a pretty good time.

It was a nice reward that I know not everyone's job will provide, so for that reason and a few others, I'm grateful for dinner out with work.

3-14-2012 Trying Something New

There are so many things to try and it seems like never enough time to try them all.  We are bounded by commitments and routines for a good part of our lives.  However, we have those times when we might be "bored" with nothing to do.  There's always something to do.  You can try something new - maybe a new exercise, a new food to cook, a new language to learn, or maybe a new instrument.

It's almost always hard at first, to do something you've never done before, but then eventually something happens and  you don't feel so dumb, you learn just enough and can see an improvement if you stick with it.

It's a process you can repeat over and over again, there's so much to try.

I am grateful for this idea of trying something new.

3-13-2012 Life

Not much more needs to be said.  When you are alive anything is possible.  We forget how important it is until we see or experience a loss.  But isn't it great to appreciate life and be grateful for it just because?

I am grateful for life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

3-12-2012 Emergency Vets

Our dear sweet dog Sammy, is not always so sweet when it comes to the dog next door.  I got home from work and was heating up my dinner when he went rushing outside, ran to the screen door which popped right open.  Next thing he was having face to face barking time with the neighbor dog (rottie mix).   The neighbor dog got one good bite on Sammy's snout.  It didn't look so bad at first, but it did look kind of odd.  I guess because it wasn't bleeding.  As I looked at it, I realized it was a pretty deep hole.

I've been to this emergency vet a few times before, so I knew right where to go.   No appointment, no explanations on the phone what was wrong, just show up - just like the human ER!

After 3 and a half hours and $250, Sammy was all sewn up and wearing a stylish dog cone on his head.

I am sure grateful that I knew where to go and knew they would be open - yes, grateful for Emergency Vets!

3-11-2012 A day on the water

On Sunday, I bribed Andy with the promise of some money to come over and help me work on the boat a little bit.  By this I meant, put a new battery in because the old one was not holding a charge, and get a handle on wiping down all of the mildew.

It was a nice day out and we stopped at McDonald's on the way there as well as the auto store to get a battery.

Battery installation and cleaning were successful and Andy actually said he enjoyed it.

Ok, so this wasn't really a day on the water like most people would think, but it was productive and fun.

Hopefully, some day again soon we'll enjoy an actual day on the water away from the dock!

3-10-2012 The New Tree that Didn't Die

In the fall I had a large overgrown shrub from the front yard replaced with a nice looking laurel oak.  On the day it was planted, the roots from the old shrub broke the water pipes coming to the house, shutting off our water for a bit (which reminded me how grateful we should be for running tap water!)

Anyway, instructions when planted was to water it every day, which I pretty much did (although maybe I missed some days when I knew it had rained or I had the sprinklers on the lawn).

Well, recently it started looking pretty bare, with fewer and fewer leaves.  This was at a time when the live oaks in the backyard were really starting to green up.

But now, all those bare spots are filling in with tiny new leaves, making the tree look alive again.

For this I am grateful.

Monday, March 12, 2012

3-9-2012 Friday Night Takeout

As I was getting ready to leave from work, Jenny called to see if I could pick something up on the way home.  It had been sort of a rough day with oldest son getting braces (when they thought it would just be x-rays and consult).

So, I was glad that she asked so that I could do one small thing.  Picked up some wings and quesadilla, it made the day a little nicer to sit down at home with the family and enjoy some fun although not-so-healthy food.

I think there was a time when I was not big on take out.

But today, I was grateful for take out on a Friday night!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

3-8-2012 A full moon when it is still dark

On the run this morning, there was a very bright and full moon.  Usually, on an early morning Thursday run, while running on stretches of bike path that have no street lights, I wear a hat with a light on it to see.  It was warm this morning and the moon was bright, so I just used the moon.

It's like a great big night light in the sky.

I'm grateful for a full moon to see by when it is still dark outside.

3-7-2012 Sharing small moments

I was putting away some laundry in my sons room.  My wife was in there practicing guitar, as I passed by her she said she saw an owl this morning on her run.  "Oh, what kind?" - I said.  She didn't know and I guess I wouldn't have known either what kind if I had seen one, but I'm glad she shared that little moment.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

3-6-2012 Oak Trees

Oak trees provide shade and some of the finest hard wood.  Oak trees provide acorns which squirrels eat and gather.  In Florida (and other places), spanish moss hangs down from them.  It's one of the things I think about when someone talks about "old Florida".  I think about a path through the woods or a country road or highway with oak trees on either side.

We have two live oaks in our back yard.  One of them has two swings hanging down from it where the kids have swung or an adult as gone out to sit and talk on the phone or read a book.

For all the beauty, the shade, the acorns, the wood - I'm grateful for oak trees.

3-5-2012 People who say TGIM

I heard one person say this, and maybe a lot more people are saying this.  I also wrote about how I am grateful for Mondays.  Just like mornings, first day of the year, first day of the month, or anything like that, they are a chance to begin again, or at least to contemplate the possibility that at any moment we pick can be time to start again.

Saying TGIM is also a short prayer if you think about it.

So many people out there hate Mondays, it's nice to hear someone sing its praises.

So, today I am grateful for people who say TGIM

3-4-2012 Kids Chores

Recently, my oldest son has been looking to make some money on the weekends.  He's not asking for an allowance, just a chance to do some chores and earn some money.  There's so many good things about this.  It shows that he understands the concept of earning his money, he actually does some chores that may have been put off longer, and it usually ends up being a catalyst for me doing chores.

I'm grateful for all of this.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

3-3-2012 Bees

While I was running on Saturday morning, with a good friend named Dixie (short for Dixson), and we passed by something with blossoms and caught the aromatic scent.  I noticed it.  He noticed it, too and said it smells like honey.  My first thought was maybe he was talking about honeysuckle blossoms which have a wonderful scent, but not it was not.

He recently took a bee keeping class and now owns two hives.

I have been stung by bees and am usually afraid of bees, but they are out there doing so much for us besides just making honey, they are responsible for a sizable amount of food production.  As bees disappear from the somewhat mysterious colony collapse disorder there is a big threat to how much food there is and how relatively inexpensive it is in this country (which is another thing to be grateful for).

So, to those hardworking bees out there, I am grateful.

3-2-2012 Feeling Light

Sometimes when running, or even walking or doing something else, I get a light feeling, when the movement feels effortless.  It feels completely natural, nothing feels heavy or tight.  It feels so natural and normal you can easily forget that it is actually a special feeling that doesn't happen all of the time.  It is a looseness and momentary freedom from worry.

When this happens, I am grateful for feeling light.

3-1-2012 Spring Blossoms

 Although most of the country and northern hemisphere is still in winter, the first signs of spring have snuck up on me.  I was running and caught the scent of some blossoms - I believe it was from Magnolia trees or perhaps some jasmine.  I had not noticed them by sight by the scent found it's way to me.

We can see beauty with our eyes, hear beautiful music with our ears, but a wonderful and memorable smell is something truly amazing.

I'm grateful for spring blossoms.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

2-29-2012 Dreams

I love dreams and dreaming.  I think it is wonderful when people have big dreams, but I'm not talking about those now.  I'm not talking about MLK's "I have a dream" or even Les Miserables "I Dreamed a Dream".  Although those are wonderful and powerful things that can change the world.

I'm talking about every day (actually night) dreams - silly dreams, scary dreams, sad dreams, normal dreams, convoluted dreams, any kind.  The act of dreaming, it's the ultimate virtual reality experience.  It makes you think.  If it's a bad dream it makes you thankful that it was just a dream.

I like to talk about dreams and sometimes write them down.  The more I do this, the more I remember them, and then sometimes I can even tell when I'm dreaming while having a dream.

People need to dream, it refreshes us and helps recreate parts of us.  And sometimes, for some people they can inspire a big dream.

I'm grateful for dreams.

2-28-2012 Busy-ness

These days, we often talk about how busy our lives are, how we should sometimes slow down.  Well, sometimes, things can be a little bit too slow and seem monotonous and tiring.  When that happens, it's kind of nice if life gets a little bit busy, do a little bit of juggling and have to work a little more efficiently.

Then, once things settle down a bit, a slower speed is more appreciated.  Also, during the time when things are busy, it forces us to concentrate on what is important and not to sweat the small stuff (at least if we do it right!).

It's just one of those things that makes life rich.

I'm grateful for busy-ness.