Sunday, October 12, 2014

With a Grateful Heart ........................................

When my friend "challenged" me to join the latest Facebook craze and create gratitude posts for five days running, my first thought was "ugh, seriously, how dorky."  I mean I adore my friend, and it's not one of those death threat forward letters or the ice bucket challenge, but still.  This post is my answer to the Facebook challenge.  I will post one link, one time, on Facebook, and you all will have to believe me when I say that I am thankful every minute for something.  That is just how I am.

And so in one sitting, with three Dark Chocolate Lindor Truffles and a Lindt Sea Salt Chocolate to consume, I will record my grateful thoughts and feelings.  Let's get started!  Everything in Bold is stuff I'm thankful for.

One smooth chocolate truffle down.  Okay, I'll confess I ate the sea salt chocolate, too.  I'm now energized to write all of this down again.  Again, I say, because I wrote a bunch of things I'm thankful for and left the notepad behind. I'm not necessarily grateful for my pending senility, but I am glad about Serenity and I'm always working on that.

First, I'll say that I'm thankful that the things I'm most thankful are not things.  They are People.  My Parents, who raised me to be strong and introduced me to a values that serve as my north star.  And although my Dad passed away last year, his example of integrity and all the life lessons I learned from him will be with me forever.  My Mom is an amazing example of quiet, selfless service.  She is always found helping the sick, and comforting the loved ones of the dying.  And she still has headhunters contacting her, so obviously she rocked her career.  My Son is smart, funny, educated, compassionate, handsome (and single, ladies of NYC).  My Daughter is gorgeous, athletic, intelligent, and talented.  I can truly say that both my kids are my best friends.  My Son-in-Law, who is handsome and has a quick wit and persistent work ethic, and my Daughter, have brought into this world an amazing child who is my Grandson.  He calls me "Ma-maw Soooooooooseeeeeeeeeee."  This little blue-eyed, golden haired toddler lights up the room when he comes running in.  He asks me about my friends that he's met when he sees me.  So cute.  Like family are my Son-in-Law's Parents.  I'm so glad we can share holidays, our children and our precious grandbaby.  Then there are my Closest Friends.  These are the select group of people with whom I share activities, beverages, meals, and much laughter and tears.  I know that they will be there for me through thick and thin, even if I complain too much about topics not to be discussed here and which they will never reveal either.  This group includes long-time friends who I have known for 40 years or longer, as well as a few with whom my association has been limited to a few years.  And friends who have passed on from this life.

Next to people, I probably am most thankful for Nature.  The Beach is where I'd rather be, and I'm thankful especially for all the beach walking this year.  I have my preferences but in reality any beach will do, in any weather.  The sun, sand, surf, and serenity are a reminder that nature and life have their own rhythms.  I am thankful for all Mother Nature's water features ... Waterfalls, Rivers, Lakes, Streams, Creeks, and so on.  Every day I see the majestic Mountains near my home, but I like mountains afar, too, with Machu Picchu being at the top of my list .  Mountains are truly breathtaking in every Season.  Speaking of seasons, I love them all ... the white gently falling Snows of Winter, the verdant Spring greens, the lush pinks, crimsons, and lavender Flowers of Summer, and the amber and rust leaves on the Trees in the Forest every Autumn.  Each year, the seasons seem to come and go more quickly, and I'm not always ready to say goodbye to one to move into the next.

Did I mention my never-ending appreciation for Flowers? Yes, but it's worth a second mention.  To the men in my life ... forget about buying me dinner.  Nothing is more welcome in my world than a colorful bouquet of fresh flowers. I especially love Pink Roses.

Speaking of pink, all love Pink Fusions such as Pink Clouds, Pink Echinacea Flowers, Pink Cars, Pink Cupcakes, and I'll admit it ... Rose Colored Glasses.

I'm so thankful for Music including such genres as Rock, Jazz, Metal, Rap, Gregorian, Jazz, Choral, Classical, Soul, Blues, R&B, Hip Hop, Latin, Reggae, Pop, Americana, Baroque, Calypso, Celtic, Dixieland,Flamenco, Indie, K-Pop, New Age, Meditation, Old Time Radio, Punk-a-billy, Piano, Ragtime, and Symphony.  And I'm grateful for Pandora, XM Radio, YouTube, and iTunes, as well as my extensive Music Library that enable me to listen all the time.  And I'm thankful that I can Hear the fusion of Melodies and Harmonies with Heartfelt Lyrics.  I apologize to those who are offended by my disdain of Elevator Music.  And be it noted that Country Music and I broke up over the summer after a relationship of over fifteen years.  I haven't had second thoughts about my decision.  At.  All.  I remain thankful for Cowboys however, at least those wearing Wranglers with their shirts tucked in and topped off with a leather belt.  Hot.  Just like George Strait.  Enough said.

I'm thankful for Facebook for keeping me in touch with extended family and long-time friends.  It's also a source of entertainment since I don't have tv.  You get comedy, drama, and on-the-spot news all for one low price.  In the 1980s, people would've paid $25 a month for a service like Facebook provides at no charge.  I'm thankful also for Pinterest, because I love to find and pin random pictures, Instagram for sharing my precious random photos, and Twitter for all the one-liners that make me laugh on every topic under the sun.  I'm thankful for all the modes of communication, such as Texting, Messaging, Email, Snail Mail, and Carrier Pigeons.  Most important, I hold in highest esteem the one communication that is so far superior to all the rest: Face-To-Face Conversations.

As far as food, I'm eternally indebted to whoever invented Tacos.  And perhaps I'd might as well include all Mexican Food.  I like cooking it, a lot, and it shows.  I am pretty sure I am the only Caucasian with a Chile Verde fan club.  And I'm equally thankful to whoever invented Iced Tea. I'll confess I like it straight, without the rocks, but even with, it's one amazing beverage.

I'm thankful for Freeways.  I have a long commute to work Downtown that would be a beast without them.  I work in downtown Salt Lake City, which I like.  But at the same time, I'm thankful that I have lived also in Boston, Massachusetts, where I learned what Spring Green was; Durham, North Carolina, where ah learned to speak the language that ah still think in ... "Carolinian;" various parts of Arizona and California, a few memorable months in Virginia.  All of these assorted residences have allowed me to experience a more whole American cultural experience than I would have had I lived solely in one place.  And then there's the place where I've spent much time, but never actually resided in, New York City.  This city is responsible for all of my snobbery about Banking, Food, Shopping, Tourism, Cityscapes, Architecture, History, City Parks, Public Transportation.  I'm unsure whether I'd like to live there, but I do love my frequent visits to my Son's Place.

Another dark chocolate truffle down the hatch.

About the man who said that if I wore makeup, I'd look like a supermodel, thank you for the Hint

I'm thankful for Reverse, U-Turns, and my GPS.  When I make a mistake in driving, and I do so more frequently than I'd care to admit, I turn around as soon as possible.  That way, I don't go to Nevada when I'm trying to get to Idaho (this happened to me once, but I wasn't driving or navigating). This one applies in vehicles and in life generally.  I try to get directions.  And I don't hold on to a wrong turn just because I thought I was going the right way at the time.

Other things I'm thankful for ... Vegetables and Vitamins, which along with Dancing, Running, and Sleep, are helping me get stronger and leaner every day.  My house ... I'm thankful for the ambiance and the comfort, and I wish it wasn't such a money pit.  My job ... it's so wonderful to have the one I do, and I'm thankful I'm not married to it, nor do I sleep with a Blackberry.

I'm thankful for the Good Days, the days when I'm floating on top of the world and nothing can phase me.  I'm almost afraid to say What (!!!) for fear of jinxing it, but please be informed Life Is Good.  And I'm thankful for the Bad Days, because I have learned behind every bad day is a chance to begin again.   And I'm grateful for the Every Day Days, when life is neither a bowl of cherries nor a clusterputz.

Okay, it's official.  All the truffles that I brought into the office are gone. 

I'm beyond thankful that I have had the Time to Dance, Run, Meditate, Hike, and Reconnect with Friends. And just because I'm thankful for Ballet does not mean I like pirouettes.  I have my limits.

I'm thankful and Excited to be able to learn the dance to Thriller and Perform it on Hallowe'en.

I'm eternally grateful for my Fairy Godmother.  Ahem.  Just kidding on that.  I'm thankful for Blissful Moments, Smiles, Heartfelt Expressions, and My Intuition.  And Fancy Dresses and Dangly Earrings

I'm thankful for Chaos.  That sounds rather self-destructive on the surface, but if you think about it, so many of us are better off because of chaos.  Think about the entertainment value we all derive from chaos no matter what the source.  Some people are actually fully employed to manage chaos.

I am grateful that during my schooling, I had teachers who were passionate about Math and English.  There was the "D" in Calculus that one time, but other than that, these subjects have shaped my education and career.

I'm eternally thankful for Croatia, the Oregon Coast, Alaska, and more recently discovered (by me), the San Juan Islands.  I have been to these places, and I go there again and again on Mental Vacations.  I also find myself roaming to the Florida Everglades.  I love any destination with Wildlife not to be confused with a wild life, which is far less fulfilling to me.  When you see Wildlife, you have to be still and silent.  When you are engaged in wild life, it is noisy, raucus, and generally irreverent.  There is a huge difference.

Did I mention Poker?  I am thankful to have been the Five Card Stud champion of the White Mountains where we had our family cabin when I was growing up and thankful I can do well at poker when I concentrate (had to throw in that caveat).  I love the Strategy, but I do not have a poker face.  Oops.

I'm grateful for Maturity.  This doesn't mean I can't have Fun.  It means I don't succumb to peer pressure to do stuff I know I will later regret.  What I have found is that the need to be or look cool transcends every generation for their entire lives, and I am glad I'm Over It.

I'm going to break here, and regroup on this later. Maybe I'll find my notepad and add all the items on that list.  Keep checking back as I'll be updating it.

I appreciate the Opportunity to Teach.  I mostly teach Elementary, Jr. HS, and High School Students about Finance-related topics.  I also like teaching my grandson how to Jump.  I love Jumping and I still remember when my Grandmother taught me how to jump rope.

I tend to be too analytical, but I'm nonetheless thankful Things are Happening outside of my ability to observe.  Flowers are growing, People are healing, Love is unfolding.   Along the same lines, I don't know when it happened, but I'm thankful that when I put on my Tightest Jeans, they fit very nicely, a little loose actually. Yes, I still have the college-ish ones and will start wearing those next.

I'm thankful for Quiet Moments in the morning, with Coffee, prepared just the way I like it. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Too Cool for School

I laugh, I love, I hope, I try
I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry
And I know you do the same things too
So we're really not that different, me and you
  ~Collin Raye

Sigh.  It happened again.  Today's message implied I was cold and unemotional.  It’s not the first time, and I suspect it won’t be the last.  The message wasn’t from a dating partner, rather from my favorite astrologer, Jonathan Cainer.
To be born under Virgo is to be blessed (or cursed) with a natural ability to project an air of diffidence. You can all too easily make people think that you are detached and unemotional, so calm and capable, so wise and composed, that you can stand back from any emotive issue. Sometimes, you can even persuade yourself of this too. Yet this week, there is something that you truly do care about. You need to convey that passion and to allow yourself to act on it. Make sure that you don't inadvertently become too cool for school.
Diffidence?  That sounds like something Mary Poppins would say about Mr. Banks.  When she was younger, my daughter occasionally told me her friends thought I didn’t like them.  It bothers me immensely to come off this way, to be sure.  Not that I am Miss Congeniality, but I really do like everyone.  Almost.  

And not to defend myself, I believe I can explain why I’m oft too cool.  

I’m a young soul.  I feel so inexperienced in spite of my chronological age.  I don’t always know what to say, and I’d rather wait several months to say something than speak too soon.  I'm sure I come across as detached.  (The good news is I’m less likely to put my foot in my mouth or say something I’ll regret, but the fact that it’s happened at all bugs me.)  

Almost everything is a “thinking thing” for me, even love.  Sorry Trace Adkins, but it is so.  If I seem cool about love or friendship, maybe it’s because I’m thinking about it.  And I take my time thinking.  I feel vulnerable, even if I don’t allow myself to be vulnerable - and there is a difference.

I can be a real cry-baby.  I’ve always been sensitive about showing strong emotions in front of other people, even my closest friends and family.  I stay composed out of necessity, because when I cry, and I do, I can’t stop.  For hours.  It isn’t that I “stuff” my emotions, but I do save them for when I have a little time.  You may not have noticed the tears in my eyes when I’m hurting or see me swallow hard when I have a lump in my throat either.

“You need to convey passion …”   The passion that wells within me is a quiet and good kind of passion, a passion for my family, especially my children and grandson, a few others close to me, and a love of nature, dance, and music.  It’s that simple, but I’m not on a soap box every other day expecting to persuade the person next to me to feel my passions.  I don’t and won’t.  Passion is an action verb with me.  

So … what am I going to do with yet another “cold” assessment?  If I'm offered the chance to take a stand on something I really care about, I will care in my own way.  I hope I'm armed with a shovel or box of Kleenex and waterproof mascara or whatever else would be useful under said circumstances.  Meanwhile I’ll listen to a few rounds of Canon in D (Pachelbel), and wait for what the week brings and deal.  Passionately, if necessary.  Like I always do. :-D