Archives for posts with tag: Gratitude

We’re currently sitting at -7 here in Minneapolis:


The sun is out; clean white puffs of steam rise from homes and office buildings. Looking out my window (and not at the weather readings on my computer or phone) the day has promise. The air doesn’t look deadly. You can’t see the wind that will rip at your cheeks and wrists and find its way between the seams of your clothes.

I’m not sure how much more I can take.

On days like this, this wife drives me to the bus stop. We sit in the car and wait until the bus comes over the hill. She’s a good and patient wife. I’m lucky. Even from the depths of this winter misery I know that.

As the bus arrives at the University, the chatter falls silent. Hearty Minnesotans around me prepare for battle. Sleeves pulled over mittens. Scarves wrapped. Hats replaced. Hood pulled up. There is weight to their shoulders, a reluctance to exit the comparable warmth of the city bus.


At least in this melancholy there is a little beauty in stoicism.


Yesterday I only left the house to shovel. The poodle helped. She lunged after each scoop of snow, chasing them into the yard where she sunk above her neck before racing back to catch the next scoop mid-air. When she was thoroughly snow covered I sent her inside. She watched in style as I finished the front walk:


The sky was blue in Minneapolis – that winter kind of blue, sharper than seems normal – but the wind howled and drifted snow steadily over my morning’s work. We curled up to nap and read, the poodle pressing every possible inch of her body against my wife’s leg, absorbing her warmth. The wind rattled our windows and crept through crevices. For a moment I could imagine that our house stood alone on the prairie, nothing to protect us. Only for a moment.

We were warm.

A bee flew into my shirt today and wedged itself beneath my bra strap. Because I’m not as smart as I pretend to be I didn’t know what was happening. Maybe something fell down my shirt. Maybe my boob was exploding. Maybe I would die. Maybe I would just look like an idiot standing on a busy street corner flailing about.

When I finally discovered the little bastard tucked into my bra, I flicked him out. A welt rose just beneath my collarbone and another formed a few inches lower. Can a bee sting twice? (Don’t ask the internet. Like most medically related questions you’ll be disappointed with the answer) As my previous advice states, I instantly knew I needed an onion. Seems like I forgot to bring my onion to work today. Oops.

My life is generally predictable. I get up, go to work, go for a walk, go to the gym (some days), go home. Repeat. Even as clumsy as I can be I don’t often get hurt. That little fucker and I reminded each other how quickly that can change, though I certainly came out ahead in this lesson.

The Thin Red Line was on TV this afternoon. Unedited and beautiful and heartbreaking and entrancing. I couldn’t help myself.


War movies, particularly WWII movies, feel a bit like vitamins. Like they are good for me. Good to remember our history. Good to remember that the good ol’ days were sometimes terrible. The Thin Red Line serves both those purposes. Despite the relatively few number of battle scenes the movie is incredibly tense.

It’s a gorgeous film, impeccably acted – directed by Terrance Malik. If you’ve seen The Tree of Life you’ll see the resemblances, but this is far better. (The Tree of Life was indulgent and trite, but that’s a conversation for another time.)

Trust me, if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth your time.

Our little poodle was sick for the first time last week – trust me you don’t want to know the details. I took half a day off work to get these expensive pictures taken of her:


All clear. Even in black and white she’s adorable.

Whatever she ate off the sidewalk isn’t lodged inside her somewhere. She doesn’t have a tumor growing around her tiny little stomach. Whatever she has seems to be something akin to the dog stomach flu and she is recovering.

Still, I’m glad we went to the vet. That day, however, I was a bit conflicted. Should I really leave work for my dog? Am I that dog-mom? Then I was angry about being conflicted. For the time being, this little poodle is my baby. Hell yes I should leave work. What if she is bleeding internally? What if she ate something poisonous? What if she is about to explode!? She isn’t exactly a wolf in the wilderness, capable of caring for herself – despite what she may think.

I am grateful for a work schedule that makes taking a half day possible. I am grateful for a boss and coworkers who understand what it means to shift your life around a dog’s health. I didn’t expect to be this kind of pet owner but I can’t imagine being any other kind.

My job is about 50% customer service. More often than not this is the 50% of my job that I like best. It’s different every day. I see new people. Sometimes they are funny. Today, one man was not funny. Not at all.

The whole incident began because he says I disrespected him last week. I didn’t. As simple as that, I have never been anything but patient and respectful to this difficult man. It’s a long story but I give you my word on that. Are you on my side, dear reader? I hope so.

On that note, he said these things to me today:

“Don’t you know who I am?”
“I would slap you if you were a man.”
“Who do you think you are?”
“Do you see me in your bed at night?” (I’m assuming that one meant that I’m not his wife so I cannot tell him what to do. I am not even going to venture a guess at where else this might have been headed.)
“You are white trash.”
“I will slap you next time I see you.”

Through the repetition of these phrases (yes, all were repeated time and again) I still do not know what he wanted. I remained composed and asked him to not speak to me in that manner and apologized if anything I said seemed disrespectful. Two coworkers stood by as we let the man rant and they walked him out when he escalated his threat.

I left the area and went for a walkabout. (A cry-about, truthfully, and I hate that he made me cry)

By the time I returned to the officer – calmer if a little red in the face and about the eyes – word had gotten around. The event of the season. The boys in my office were concerned but not over bearing, the girls said I should have slapped him. My manager swore repercussions for such action.

Today I am grateful for that mean man. He reminded me that whatever else is going on, these people are on my side. It doesn’t matter who didn’t clean the coffee pot or didn’t answer the phone fast enough. They give a shit, at least a little. At least when there is some drama.

Crows the size of Chihuahuas circled our neighborhood all day. They distracted the poodle on her walk. They distracted me while I tried to read. When one landed on the roof he sounded like a full grown man walking around up there. His claws crunched across the snow until he peered over the edge and into our bedroom window.

I think it’s a sign. This neighborhood is no longer ours. The poodle knows it too:


She’s a brave little bird.

Also – that reminds me – did I mention we’re buying a house? A house. A wedding. Maybe even a real life garden.

2013 is going to be a big year for us. Stay tuned.

My mother told the story of my birth, as she does most Thanksgivings. She didn’t feel well. She thought it was indigestion. Alas, I was born after two enormous Thanksgiving dinners and lots of family advice.

Great story right? Even better when you get to hear it over a turkey dinner each year.

Beyond the story time, my tradition is Rainbow Chip Cake (if you haven’t had it, please go buy it and make it now):

Nom nom

…and the birthday decorations my mother puts up for everyone. Streamers. Some shiny foil birds. A Happy Birthday banner. The decorations sit in a box in the closet and have for years until someone’s birthday rolls around. When they show up again I feel a little corner of my heart become a kid again. I love that we use the same ones. Now those silly little birds mean birthday to me, they make me smile.

Maybe next year, when I’m the 3-0 I’ll grow up, but I hope not.

Today I’m grateful for Crossfit. But first:

Work was kind of crappy today. I didn’t get much done this weekend (as mentioned with my previous post about The Walking Dead, which yes I did get caught up on). The election anticipation is driving me bonkers. The poodle keeps hiding her treats in places I’m likely to sit on them. It gets dark at 430 now. Birds pooped all over my car. My life is super hard.

Then: 5 Rounds

400m Run

30 Situps

15 Deadlifts (83lbs for me)

We started the WOD running as pack – which I haven’t really done since high school. The pack can make running feel more fluid, more fun. I don’t think as much about the cold air burning my lungs or my uneven gait. That seemed to set the tone. Even when I thought I was going to puke on round three of the run and thirty sit-ups seemed insane and my deadlift form faltered. I felt good. Crossfit made everything OK.

Well for at least the next hour as my brain swims with sick amounts of endorphins, Crossfit made everything better. Tomorrow might be a different story.

Each morning, I leave my house before the street lights switch off. Before the frost begins to fade from roofs and cars and piles of leaves. Before my little poodle thinks it is reasonable to leave her tent. By the time I reach the highway the sun is no more than a ribbon of pinkish, orange on the horizon.

I am not a morning person.

These early starts can break my spirit, particularly because grad school spoiled me. I just want to stay in my warm bed and sleep until the sun rises and let Charlie Rose tell me about all the day’s news.  But, alas, I’m an adult. So I get up, make myself presentable, and try find the things I can be grateful for after I leave my warm home.

Today I am grateful for no frost on my windshield, a green light at the corner, reasonable bus drivers and pedestrians down Lyndale, Brandi Carlile on the radio, no wait at the interstate ramp, only one jackass Minnesotan merging like a crazy person and this view as I walked into work:

Yep, I was right. Gratitude lists make me feel better. Happy Monday, folks.

%d bloggers like this: