Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful


             This year I've participated in what seems to have become a social media tradition. For each day of November, I wrote a FaceBook status describing something I was thankful for that day. Some days the post was long and meaningful, being thankful to have a loving supportive partner or being on a sports team that has encouraged my personal growth. But some days were simpler, like being thankful for my new tires after a big snow or at the end of a long stressful day being thankful for my hot tub or new pajamas. I typically write my post each evening so that I can reflect on the day and write about what I had appreciated most. There have only been a couple of days when I struggled to find one good thing, but there was always something there. I've made sure to pick a new thing each day. It was uplifting to see that I could recognize the good there is in my life, even after a crappy day. I've also really enjoyed seeing others posting what they are thankful for. It's inspiring to see my friends finding joy in their lives and realizing how similar we are, even at our most different. My friends are thankful for a nice glass of wine, a good meal, their child getting over a cold. Yet what I've noticed just as much as those posts are the people who aren't participating and instead are posting their regular updates, complaining about having a cold or a sore back or being called in to work on a day off. It's funny that I always can think of a response like "Be thankful that you have a job to be called in to" but I rarely share my opinion because I know it likely won't be appreciated. I wish I could help those people see the silver lining but I know from my own past that no one can force you to see it until your ready, and some people never do.
         So in this season of gratitude, here are some photos of the things I am most thankful for this year: My partner, my dogs, my roller skates, the beautiful place where I live and amazing home cooked meals.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just The Sheets

           One of my coworkers has recently moved here from the south. Talking with her has me remembering what it was like to make that transition, as I moved here from North Carolina five years ago. One of the things that took some getting used to was how much “stuff” you need. If you want to be active and do fun stuff outdoors, you need a lot of gear. I think it's especially true for women because nine months of cold weather is a long time to be stuck wearing just a single coat and hat! When this winter began to set in, I gave her a couple of my older coats and a pair of like new hiking shoes that hurt my toes. My new friend has been very appreciative of my hand me downs. I’ve gotten a lot of joy out of sharing now only my things but my experiences.
            Over the weekend I went into my storage closet to dig out some sheets to give her for her new guest bed. I had a full bed when I lived alone but got rid of it when I moved in with my boyfriend and we now only have queen mattresses. I’ve boxed up a lot of my things left over from my single days that I don’t have use for but haven’t wanted  to get rid of. Initially I was glad that I could pass on my nice comforter set but as I pulled it from its box, I remembered how much I like it and a dreadful thought came to me: What if Reggie and I split up and I have to live by myself again? I was flooded with the memories of living on my own after my divorce and how proud I was of myself as I bought myself new things and made a life on my own. I was overwhelmed by a sense of panic: I don’t want to go through all that again!, I don’t want to get rid of my things! I love my things! Panic!
            “I can’t decide what to do about my sheets”, I said to Reggie sheepishly as we folded laundry together later in the evening.  He looked puzzled. What didn’t I know? Either I give them away or I don't, right?  So I explained myself: I have X number of sheet sets, dust ruffles and comforters. We have no use for them right now and I want to help my friend by giving them to her “But what if I have to live along again someday?” I sniffled, “I’ll want to have my things.”
            No amount of comforting from my boyfriend could ever convince me that I’ll never be single again. No one knows for sure what’s going to happen. I understand that and I honestly think I’m okay with it, as much as one really can be with the ever looming sense of the unknown.
            It’s just amazing to me how much emotion can be entwined with the objects we hold dear. Sure it’s a bedding set that can be easily replaced. But what it represents to me is so much more. So much history and it makes me feel better  to know it’s tucked away. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Welcome Back, Motivation

     It's obvious that I haven't updated this blog in quite a while. I feel the need to clarify that it hasn't been for lack of wanting on my part or even lack of ideas. In fact, I think about writing a lot, every day. It's the time to do it that I've been lacking lately. Or rather, the ability to prioritize my time so that I do some writing each day. I enjoy writing a great deal but I've always felt like conditions have to be perfect in order for me to be productive. I want to feel inspired then sit down at a nice clean work space and write a great piece start to finish. This is a fantasy, I realize that, but for some reason I haven't found a way to regularly work writing in to my routine that feels good to me.
     A few days ago I went to see my favorite author, David Sedaris, give a reading. His writing is what I aspire to. I've read all his books and listened to them on audio. I get my hands on anything that he writes and watch any interview he gives. I've had the tickets for months, held to the front of my refrigerator by a bright shiny magnet. I knew he'd be signing books at the event so my favorite paperback had been on the coffee table awaiting the big day. I'd been wracking my brain trying to come up with a whopping compliment to deliver. I sprang out of bed that morning like a kid at Christmas and all day long I chuckled to myself imagining all the witty banter I would exchange with my idol. I got to the venue early and shot straight to the signing line, scoffing internally at the comments I overheard from people who clearly don't know David Sedaris as well as I do and certainly haven't read all his books as many times as I have. Finally, my turn came and there I stood there in awe, not able to complete a single sentence. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I'm rarely ever at a loss for words, yet I nodded my head like a bobble head doll and could barely manage simple responses to his attempts to chat with me. He took some markers out of a ziplock bag and did a one of a kind drawing for me: the bleeding severed arm of a snowman. I took my book back and immediately clutched it to my chest as I sputtered out a thank you. I've met my favorite musician, plus plenty of others, comedians and even an Oscar nominated actress and managed to have conversations and not appear starstruck. This, however, was the first time I met someone famous who is doing something I want to do, who is living out my secret dream. There are so many things I'd love to ask or talk about yet I couldn't think of a single one.
     After the reading, the house lights came on and there was a Q & A session. Thankfully other people had the wherewithal to ask the questions I wish I had thought of. I leaned forward in my chair, trying to soak in as much of his knowledge as possible. He talked about how one of the stories he had read us was in its 19th draft and I nodded, thinking what an important fact that is for someone who expects to write something perfect in one sitting. "I get up every day and I write", he said "That's all I've got going for me." I've gone over that evening in my head over and over, trying to take in as much as I can from the experience and it's that line that has stuck with me the most. Get up every day and write. I can do that!