A Happy and Thankful Life

Full rainbow

On my way home from work tonight, I was feeling a bit grumpy. I was tired, and hungry and my knees ached. Today had me on my feet from 8am to 3:30pm solid with only 10 minutes of sitting for a quick lunch. I haven’t replaced my gym shoes yet and those were the ones I wore. Out of all the shoes I could pick from, they had the most tread. When I have to load a truck, tread trumps everything else.  But oh, they were the worst ones to wear today.

As I drove down the road towards home, there was a large strip of a rainbow directly in front of me. I couldn’t help but smile. It was so bright and hard to miss in the dreary sky. In the minute that it took me to check the mail, the vibrant rainbow had faded. What was left was a muted rainbow that I could see across the sky from one end to the other. I took two pictures and attempted to piece it together.

Rainbow on 9/30/11

I wasn’t able to catch all of it. However, it reminded me of the second trip that J and I took to NYC. We were driving through Pennsylvania and were taking a connecting road from one highway to another when we saw a full rainbow. I was so excited to see it and wanted to take a picture but trees were getting in my way. He drove down this rural residential street and parked so I could take pictures. I giggled in excitement and he laughed at me but didn’t move the car until I was happy with the pictures I took.

 I don’t recall seeing a full rainbow since then and that was two summers ago. Today’s made me slip out of my grumpy-party-of-one moment. My two biggest issues would soon be fixed by tylenol and the dinner I bought at Subway. Otherwise, I had a great day. The school I was at was wonderful with great students, volunteers and teachers. It was the kind of day that reminds me of how we have the ability to encourage the love of learning in children. I really had nothing to complain about. And all it took was a simple rainbow to get me out of a potential funk.


40-years teaching

Tonight, after a longer program set-up than planned, I told the night custodian that I was heading out. He had checked in on me a few times and was friendly. I always try to ask little of the custodial staff at schools as they are busy. They have so much to get done in the hours that the building is closed. It doesn’t make sense to ask them for help when they have far more work ahead of them than I do.  

He walked me out and asked how long I had been with the company and didn’t quite believe the years I told him. I don’t blame him as I find it hard to believe that I’ve worked at the same company, in different positions, for fourteen years.  He said that he taught for longer than I’ve been alive. He was retired after being a gym teacher for forty years. Being bored at home, he returned to working in schools part-time as a custodian and he loves it.

Honestly, it wasn’t what I was expecting. As I’ve tried not to interrupt custodians, I never gave myself the time to learn their stories. Everyone has a story. Do you remember the CBS News series called “Everybody Has a Story”? It was one on my favorite segments on the nightly news. I envy Steve Hartman and his opportunity to travel and hear people’s stories. He would throw a dart on the map, head to that city and then use the local phone book to identify a random person to interview. Many of the people he interviewed were humble and didn’t find themselves interesting or worthy enough for a tv story. Steve always proved them wrong.

There are reasons, some seemingly mundane and some intriguing, for how people ended up where they are now. His positive attitude was refreshing after hearing more of his experiences and history. He is a great example as to what I am trying hard to do every day, to live a happy and thankful life. In the fog that I’m walking through, there are real people on the other side. Thank you sir for taking the time to talk with me and bring a smile to my face. I hope you enjoy the program tomorrow.

great news

Today I’m grateful to hear positive news. My heart feels lighter. There was a possibility that someone I love could be sick. I found out today that all of his tests came back within normal range. Ideally, it was just a stomach bug that caused the spike in white blood cells. The doctors will continue to monitor him but for now, all is well. For now, he continues to be a healthy kid where his biggest worries are learning his times tables. This is great news.

found heart hoop

Yesterday, I was reminded that it was time for Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin lotion. I have particular scents that I wear only during certain seasons. With the cooling air, it’s time to make the switch. In my search for my lotion this morning, I did find something better. I had to use a step stool to check the top of a shelf in the bathroom. Towards the back was a jewelry box. Confused, I opened it up and realized that it was the box that held my wedding day gift from J. He picked out perfect earings for me that I’ve worn every day since. They are simple, classic and understated. Perfect for me.

Inside the box today were earrings that I had put in the box at some point. It had to have been on our wedding day but I don’t remember. I thought I had lost them and gave up searching for them. J bought them in my college town when we were visiting during one Homecoming weekend. We realized as we were walking around that it was Sweetest Day. It caught us by surprise but J wanted to buy me something and we found these simple earrings in one of my favorite stores.

Jody Coyote Heart Hoop Earrings @ http://jcearrings.com/

I wore them for the longest time. They were perfect for my travel schedule as they were simple, comfortable to sleep in and made me smile. I didn’t realize when he bought them that they were called heart hoops. It seems quite fitting that we picked them out together in our first years of dating for Sweetest Day. I’m grateful to have found them again. I’ll polish them up and start to wear them again. It’s a good thing I have two piercings in each ear!

unexpected hug

I had a long day working the event that I had set-up yesterday. I was expecting a nice event and lots of interactions with kids and adults. That happened and it was a good day. I wasn’t expecting to see one of J’s doctors. I saw this cute toddler and asked him if he wanted to play with blocks. I then noticed the kid’s parents and the lady looked a bit familiar. As I looked at her, she asked if I remembered her and she said her name. It clicked.

Have you ever seen someone outside where you normally see them? There is a disconnect. I’m used to seeing her in her doctor’s coat, running around the hospital. I hadn’t seen her since May, when J was finishing up chemo. J and her had a fun rapport, which was similar to the rapport with his head doctor. Their interactions with J were always honest and feisty. More than once, she walked into his room and said, “I hear you’re causing trouble!” She would also make jokes and give him a (good hearted) hard time. There are many things that I’m thankful for in regards to J’s two main doctors. Both shared amazing qualities that made our journey as peaceful as possible. They knew how to handle J and if I were honest, me as well. She is genuine and she doesn’t hold back. We knew that J’s health and treatment decisions were in the best hands when they were in control.

I wasn’t expecting to see her…to see someone I knew from the cancer hospital, in a place so far removed from my former world. But it was good to see her. We hugged and she asked how I was doing and that they had been thinking about me. We didn’t talk long about J, which is good as it wasn’t the right place. Seeing her and having that moment was comforting. Instead of heart-wrenching, it was comforting. I wasn’t expecting that and was surprised but so very grateful.

getting around on wet grass

Today I had to unload materials for an event that I’m working tomorrow. The event is taking place outside in open grassy fields. This would not be an issue except for that it has been raining off and on throughout the week. The fields were a bit soggy today and they were limiting the number of vehicles on the field to prevent it from getting torn up too much. This included the work van that was stocked with our heavy materials. There is no easy way to transport these things other than on dollys. Dollys however, don’t work on grass. I was picturing having to find people to carry these boxes across the large field and how long that would take. Thankfully, the event staff have utility carts that can fit our materials. It took four trips and 15 minutes to move everything across the field to our tent. This was a far better outcome than what I was expecting. Now I’m hopeful that they’ll be available again tomorrow as I load up. Positive thoughts!

the secret to kitten happiness

Yesterday, I thought I had discovered the secret to my kitten’s happiness.  I wanted to confirm my theory today. Lately, I’ve noticed that on the weekends, she is playful but calm and lovable. However, during the week after work, she is a spaz and terror. She runs through the apartment and leaps at the walls. Sassy is able to hit the door at a mark that is taller than me. These days have me calling her “rotten” far more often than I care to admit.

During the last few months, I’ve worked longer hours at work which have had me away from the apartment for an average of 10-13 hours a day. On the days that I work a normal work day, I’m gone for 9 hours. I started noticing a difference in her behavior depending on how long I was gone. She is far worse when I’m gone for longer than 9-10 hours. It is as though she is acting out and punishing me for leaving her. Today, I worked a normal day and she has been playing with her feather ball in between sleeping on the couch next to me.

A few friends have said that I should get her a friend. I have a strong feeling towards not being outnumbered bu pets. A one to one ratio is what is happening in this home now. Plus, the lady from the rescue where we adopted her from said that Sassy was a very different kitten when around other cats. She was far more active and outgoing when alone than with other cats. I love her personality and not want to upset her by bringing in another pet.

I think this realization will help me in making sure that I’m working normal hours; not just for her happiness but also for mine. If she was a few years older, I wouldn’t be as concerned. But she will only be a year old at the end of this month.  I will be leaving town for six days for an upcoming conference. I’ve been debating whether to ask someone to stop in to feed her or to just board her. After this realization, I think the best option for her will be for me to board her. She will be around other people and won’t have an entire empty apartment to herself. As she gets older, I’ll reconsider but for now, this is what I have to do.

I enjoy her social, playful and talkative nature and don’t want lots of solo time to be detrimental to her behavior. Yes, I realize that I’m talking about a pet this way. In my experience, considering the pet’s personality and happiness is important to how they develop and adjust to life as they age. It’s worked for me with past pets, why mess with it now? She was J’s kitten. We didn’t know at the time what would happen, but J picked her and she has become important to me. I can ignore my own health and work longer hours but I can’t continue to do so as it has an effect on my pet. I’m okay with that and thankful that I’ve realized what makes for a happier kitten in my home.


I’m struggling today to find something positive. I found out tonight that someone close to me may be sick. Hearing the symptoms, I’m praying that it is just an infection and not the other option. He returns to the doctor on Friday for a repeat blood test. The range of possible illnesses are huge but vary between infection and things far serious. Now, we wait for answers.  The waiting is the hardest part.

I feel selfish but  I don’t think I’m strong enough to go through this again. If this is what I fear it is, my heart will shatter as I know the road ahead is far harder than anything he has encountered before.

Tonight, I just pray and will be grateful for any answers in what is making my sweet nephew sick.


Today was okay and I’m grateful. This week has been a bit easier to navigate. I’ve been finding things on different blogs and grief sites that have brought me comfort and perspective. I wish I could remember the site, but one person wrote “Breathe. Just breathe and live and enjoy.” That is currently under my monitor at work. It is a gentle reminder that helps me get through the day. So does the Happy Bunny’s picture saying “Don’t make the nice girl slap you silly.” But that’s another story. 
On Sunday, I came across this image. I was starting to get upset with myself because I had big plans to get things done but ended up doing nothing all day. I left the house to get a newspaper. I wore my yoga capris all day, took a nap and lounged around all day.  I was a bum. But after seeing this, it reminded me that it’s okay. What needs to get done, will get done.
Breathe via http://www.epbot.com/2011/09/sometimes-its-ok-to-not-be-ok.html

Tonight, I left work with grand plans and haven’t completed any of them. But I did cook dinner tonight, which is better than what I did last night. One step at a time. Everything will be okay.

on the tv

I struggled with what to write today. It was a normal day. Or rather what has become my normal. Home, work, home.

Sometimes I forget that the world continues to move on even when I feel as though I’m standing still. In my mind, I know that days pass, seasons change, things change. My heart is a different story. In my heart, my world stopped June 24th. Or rather, April 24th when J relapsed. Nothing has been the same since.

Tonight, the new season line-up began. And that is what I’m thankful for. Stay with me on this one…I’ll explain why. J was not able to watch last season’s finales. We had DVR’d them to watch together when he came home. That didn’t happen. During the summer quite a few shows that J and I watched together were cancelled. Many of the shows that he loved were cancelled. These were ones that I’d watch with him and slowly get sucked into. However, I am also faced with the shows that we watched together and having no one to enjoy them with. We would DVR shows and I was in charge of fast-forwarding through commercials. If it looked like I was going too far and wouldn’t stop in time, I’d hear “hey hey!” or “give me that remote” if I was distracted by the laptop. But I often stopped at that perfect moment and would hear him say, “Niiiice”. I miss that.

As bittersweet as the new season is, I’m thankful for the opportunity to find new shows that I can watch that don’t remind me of J. I will still watch our shows. I will still pick out the parts that would get him fired up or make him laugh or the parts that would make me giggle and he would make that smile at me. This new season will remind me of the good but also remind me that time does move on, ready or not.