I set myself a few goals this year. Nothing grandiose, more like tasks, really. Things I could do and then look at and say yup, did that.
One of the things I decided to do this year is gratitude journaling. I’ve been journaling since I was 13, though back in the day it was called writing in your diary. I have decades-worth of lined notebooks with the entire history of every boy I liked, every grade I got in school, every pair of jeans that never fit.
This year I decided to graduate to gratitude. I set myself the goal of writing one thing that I’m grateful for each day. And now that January has concluded itself, I’m happy to say that I’m one-twelfth of the way to my goal.
It was never meant as a public activity. These are random words I wrote in a document on my computer along with many more words, no longer about boys and grades but still about jeans and also clients and grocery shopping.
But I’m so proud of myself for actually doing something I said I would, that I thought it might be fun to share. I know of at least one friend who is also doing gratitude journaling, and after my experience this month I’m thinking it wouldn’t be a bad idea for more people to do it. Being grateful has been instructive.
Yes, there are 31 days of gratitude to read through and this whole thing is unreasonably long. But reading it is up to you. Read one, read six or sixteen or thirty-one or none at all. Maybe some will interest or inspire you. Maybe you’ll be reminded of that one thing YOU’RE grateful for. Maybe you’ll have a little better day because of it.
I gave myself a few “rules” for doing this, which is kind of a strong word, but here they are:
- I have to actually be grateful for the thing I write about, on the day I write about it. No phoning it in with things like “I’m grateful for my health or the sunrise or nice people.” Unless, of course, I am truly grateful for those things. It has to be real.
- No gratitude for negatives. “I’m so grateful it’s not Monday.” That would be WAY too easy. And not quite the point.
- There has to be context. “Sun.” As grateful as I may be for it, there is no context. There has to be a why, and a why now?
And that’s about it.
The rest of what’s on this page is lifted nearly verbatim from my diary. Because really, you’re never too old for a diary, are you?
I edited a very few things so they would make a little more sense to someone who is not in my brain, but there are still things here that will make no sense at all because it would have required too much editing and defeated the purpose. This isn’t a novel, it’s just… maybe a little reminder that there are really things about life that are pretty nice.
After 31 days of gratitude I realized a few things.
One: it’s really easy to be grateful. There are so many things that are interesting, fun, enjoyable, convenient, useful, pleasant things, that are easily overlooked or taken for granted, and that make life so much better for existing.
Two: it’s also stupid hard to be grateful because Mondays and headaches and stress and work and grief and some days you really want the universe to go f#$% itself.
Which, I guess, is life.
In order, (mostly) unedited. If you feel compelled to share your own gratitude, I’d be most grateful to hear it. Just be sure to play by the rules!
PS: I found a few photos to make the reading more interesting but they weren’t necessarily taken for this exercise and most aren’t even from this year. But they really do represent the actual thing I wrote about.
January 1, 2019 (Tuesday)
The clouds are very pretty. I like clouds. I enjoy clouds. I’m grateful for clouds. The big, gray thunderous kind. The white, fluffy kind that turn into animals or dragons. The long, wispy kind that scallop across the sky. The flat white ones that turn the whole sky into a cloud. The puffy ones that fringe around the horizon as the sun rises. The cottonball collections that pile up and glow gold and pink in the sun.
Sitting and watching clouds is very peaceful. If they’re blowing away in a breeze or just sitting there hanging out.
Today there are some flat white ones in one part of the sky, and some gold-white cottonball ones in the other part.
And thus, gratitude.
January 2, 2019 (Wednesday)
Today I am grateful for books. The pretty covers, the feel of the pages under my fingers, how they bend back in my hands when I’m reading them. The hardcovers and soft covers, the friendly print and the tiny type that makes you go blind.
I love hanging out on the couch with tea and a book, I love curling up in bed late, late at night with a book light and reading long after everyone is asleep.
I love how books smell and their beautiful spines showing on a shelf.
I love learning new things or discovering new stories. I even love being outraged by the stupid ones. I could probably write a book about how much I like books so today I will simply appreciate them and be happy that they exist.
January 3, 2019 (Thursday)
Today I’m grateful for marzipan. Sounds like a silly thing, but really, what would the world be without marzipan? Not much, I can tell you. First of all it’s delicious, in a completely unique way. If you eat chocolate cake, it’s still chocolate cake no matter what the other flavors or style. Same for banana muffins or sugar cookies. But marzipan tastes like itself, a uniquely sweet and delicious flavor, and slightly sandy-creamy texture. It’s also beautiful. All the fruit shapes and bright colors. Or you can make it geometric, or you can cover it in chocolate. So many options! Marzipan also represents a special treat, usually a holiday, and most certainly mom and dad giving it to me. So I’m grateful for marzipan and its deliciousness and its beauty and its specialness and all the holidays and joyful things it represents.
January 4, 2019 (Friday)
I am grateful for Kevin, for the fact that he exists, for him being my friend, someone who knows and understands me, even the gross parts, and is still my friend anyway. I’m grateful for the billion trillion memories we share and for the fact that I can spew out randomness on online chat or text every day, whether I spend 4,000 words complaining about work or talking about fat or learning about marzipigs. Apparently, they’re a thing.
I’m grateful for his conversation and his cocktails and his company and that he listens and that he shares his own grossness and that he tells me when I’m a douche but in an “I’m your friend so I get to tell you you’re a douche” way.
I’m grateful for our book clubs and our single-word communications, and our inside jokes, and, all the things, really. Most especially, all the horns.
January 5, 2019 (Saturday)
Tonight I used a can of gluten-free vegetable noodle soup that somehow my mother ended up with and she asked me if I wanted it and I said no way, and she said she was going to put it in the food pantry but it has been sitting here ever since, which turned out to work out for me because I concocted some shitty rice dish with it tonight for lack of anything else to eat.
Which leads me to today’s moment of gratitude. I’m grateful for a can of leftover gluten-free vegetable noodle soup, because after three weeks without grocery shopping and four more days until my next trip, I cooked rice in the soup and ended up with a fairly gross concoction that served as a side dish tonight. So why would I be grateful for a subpar side dish made with canned soup? Because it was there. Because I didn’t have to go out, buy more stuff, spend a lot of money on crap produce on a deserted summer island in the dead of winter. Because with enough red pepper flakes and a squirt of lemon juice, it was pretty edible and it gave me cheap, easy nutrition that didn’t involve me running to the store on a rainy, cold Saturday afternoon when I would rather be home in my sweats. And because now it’s a leftover sub par side dish that will do just fine with a fried egg on top for next week’s breakfast. Because sometimes you just have to be grateful for what you have and make do with that.
January 6, 2019 (Sunday)
Today is easy because I am grateful for books, especially the old, loved, read and reread kind that smell old and loved and read. I love them so. I love the feel of the pages sifting through my fingers, I love the colors of the artwork, I love the pages of acknowledgements and the descriptions on the back that make you pick them up and wonder what’s inside.
I love the words, even when they’re terrible words. I will take a book in my hands with terrible words any day, over not having books, or having to read books on a screen inside a hard plastic casing.
I started reading Jack Kerouac’s “On The Road” and I love his style of free flowing thoughts. But beyond this particular book, I love having books in the world, on shelves, on tables, on floors. This particular book is old. It’s a second-third-who-knows-what-hand book that was originally priced at $1.25, so that should give you an idea of how long it’s been around. But it smells amazing. Every time I turn a page I can smell how old and read this book is.
Books make me happy and they fill my days and senses with joy, so today I’m taking a moment to be infinitely grateful for them and for what it feels like to spend a Sunday afternoon with your nose in a delicious-smelling one.
January 7, 2019 (Monday)
I’m grateful for water. Fresh, clean, cold, drinkable water. Not everyone has it. I drink it all day, by the bucket.
I looked over at the counter just now and saw my water jug and thought, I can sip cold clean water any time I want, like right now, exactly when I’m thirsty.
We’re kind of spoiled by having so much water at our disposal even though we complain about what a bottle of it costs. If we weren’t so snooty we could drink it out of the tap for free. We don’t live in a third world country.
We’re spoiled by water to the point that we can’t even go to the mall without bringing a bottle to “stay hydrated.” Like we’re going to shrivel after 30 minutes of pushing a cart around at the grocery store.
This wasn’t supposed to be a diatribe. It was supposed to be gratitude. And I’m grateful for water. I would literally die without it.
January 8, 2019 (Tuesday)
Potatoes. I am SO grateful for potatoes. I don’t understand people who decide that they aren’t healthy enough or don’t count as vegetables. Which technically they may or may not be. But really, potatoes should be put on a pedestal and worshipped. They’re comparably inexpensive nutrition. They have lots of good vitamins. They’re easy to get any time of the year and come in about a billion types. Red and white and Idaho and fingerling.
There is really an endless number of ways to cook and eat potatoes, from the simplest to the most sublime. You can have them for any meal of the day. Baked, mashed, roasted, fried, sautéd in butter, covered in cheese, stuffed with garlic, layered into gratin or combined with apples or onions or peppers or whatever.
I could give up meat in a pinch, if there was none or if someone told me I’d die of high cholesterol unless I stopped eating it. I could stop eating dessert if someone said I was diabetic and had to save my life. But potatoes? No. I’d die happy in a vat of them.
Tonight we’re eating the last three potatoes that I hoarded. Roasted. Tomorrow is shopping day, which is a good thing because I’m going to buy bags and bags of potatoes. Thank you, potatoes, for being so delicious.
January 9, 2019 (Wednesday)
I figured I’d be a little more existential today and be grateful for my lifestyle. That sounds a little weird to say but I was thinking about this “ Shred10 days of clean eating” thing we’re doing, and how simple it is for me to make three healthy meals a day. As I scanned through the shred Facebook group and read people’s Facebook posts with their ideas for lunch (salad in a jar? really?) and their gigantic shopping lists and how they spent all weekend prepping for… vegetables? I was thinking, really, how hard is it to eat food? Meat, vegetables, fruit, done. It’s the most uncomplicated thing on the planet.
But then I started thinking about how my life is pretty different from most people. Most people have jobs. Like, actual get up in the morning and leave the house jobs. A chunk of them have kids. As in, you have to feed your kid something even though you’re stuck with broccoli. And I realized that it probably is pretty complicated for other people to eat well.
Which then got me thinking about my charmed life. I work, yes. I work a lot. I work weekends and obscure hours and holidays and I don’t exactly get a paycheck to rely on for my vegetable budget. But if I’m having a sugar hangover, I can sleep late if I want, then get up and decide what to make for breakfast. I can spend an hour making potatoes and bacon on a Tuesday. And then for lunch I can decide all over again. I can cook, I can find some leftovers, I can eat at noon or two or three. And I can start dinner whenever I want, too. As long as I’ve taken the right meat out to defrost, I can start the meatloaf at noon or put the soup on at 9 in the morning. I can start the chicken roasting at 4 or grab some leftovers at 7. It hardly matters because I run my own schedule.
Also I only have to feed Ralph, who basically will eat a dishrag if I put it in front of him, bless his uncomplicated little soul.
So yeah, I imagine it would be a lot harder if I had to go to an office somewhere and make sure I had my un-cookable healthy lunch with me, or if I’m lucky, something you can throw in a microwave. And I imagine I’d have to do a lot more prep work if I planned to be healthier for dinner instead of coming home exhausted, doing the homework, getting the kids in a bath, cooking, then whatever else has to happen after that.
And while I was thinking about that, I was thinking that I’m pretty fortunate to be able to work on my own thing, in my own space, at my own pace. I’m not trying to say that I can do what I want, as many a missed holiday and birthday party will attest. But day to day, I run my own schedule, answer to myself (and yes, clients, but not some authority figure who does quarterly reports or something). It’s just a different relationship.
I can (and do) stop 14 times a day to make another cup of tea, and throw in the laundry in the middle of the afternoon.
And while we’re on the topic of THAT, I know people with kids are all about the kids and it’s the best thing ever, but honestly I am very happy with my zero children. Because when I wanted to sell my house, I did that. And when I wanted to quit my job, I did that. And when I wanted to drive across the country, I did that.
There is a certain freedom to how I live that I don’t necessarily appreciate on a given day, especially when I’m stuck in a room working for 16 straight days on some deadline, but don’t we all have that?
So today, with a lot of words and a bit of reflection, I am grateful for the freedom that my lifestyle affords me. From my ability to cook dinner at 1pm to the fact that I can decide tomorrow to drive to Nebraska and do it. I’m grateful that I have a business that belongs to me, that my success and failure relies for the most part on me, and that I’m not tethered to a place or a thing that I don’t want to be.
January 10, 2019 (Thursday)
The first thing I do when I wake up is come downstairs and open the curtains in the living room. Then I look out over the tall fuzzy grasses at the golf course and the sky. The sky is always beautiful, whether it’s deep purple or bright blue or gray clouds or muted pink. But my absolutely favorite thing about the view is the tall fuzzy grasses.
Since the day we moved in here, I’ve loved the grasses, and last year when someone cut them down after the summer, I was so angry and upset that it really messed with the rest of my winter.
So this morning, as I sit and watch the wind blow the grasses, thin and reedy and bare for winter except for a little fuzz at the top, I am grateful that they’re there and that I’ve had so much time to sit and enjoy them.
I love watching them go through their phases, from bare, brown winter to the lush green and silky tops of summer. I love watching them blow and sway in the wind, and weep in the rain. I love watching the movement and the shapes they make against the sky, and the golden glow of them in the sunset.
Funny how something so small and unassuming can make you so happy but watching those grasses has really been quite a zen things for me. It has the ability to put my brain back together when it’s a mess. I’m going to miss those grasses when we leave. But for today I will sit and watch and be grateful.
January 11, 2019 (Friday)
Right now I’m incredibly grateful for a fun, productive, pleasant, positive day of working with Ralph on Podcaster’s Toolbox. It’s not always all of those. Or any of those. But today was simply delightful.
We got up early, we went to Starbucks, I skipped the tea and cake because of shred, froze my butt off because of door, but spent several enjoyable, perfect hours talking through things, documenting things, and getting things done.
It was quite possibly one of the most enjoyable and productive work sessions ever. I’m grateful for the togetherness and how we just seemed to totally click on everything. By the end of the day I felt very hopeful and positive about this project, which is something I haven’t felt in a long time, and I’m sure he hasn’t either. It was amazingly nice to have a super peaceful and useful and fun day together working on our own project.
January 12, 2019 (Saturday)
I’m grateful for weekends. Because even though I work 365 days of the year when I have to, weekends are relaxed. I can spend more time cooking fun things that take four hours to prepare, I can sit on the couch all day and read, I can sleep late, and nobody calls me or emails me or needs anything. Weekends are mental break time, down time from the schedule and demands of the rest of the week.
January 13, 2019 (Sunday)
I’m grateful for cooking. Is that weird and abstract? How about I’m grateful that I can cook whatever fun things I want? I’m grateful that all the cooking things exist that make cooking fun? I’m grateful that I have the time and pleasure of cooking?
Well. I love cooking. My new MO, since I made up my mind to stop eating out and ordering in like a maniac, is spending time on Sundays putting together my meals and shopping list for the next week. We’ve been shopping on Wednesdays since we go to BNI and then stop at Dearborn where they have actual fresh and various types of produce. I love that market, and I despise the ones here, so it works out.
I love my Sundays of sitting down and browsing recipes and figuring out what I want to cook and making my lists. I love chopping fresh peppers and cilantro and tomatoes. I love hacking the pits out of avocados and smashing garlic and scrubbing potatoes. I love how beautiful all the fresh things look in the bowls and how they transform into deliciousness in the pan. I’m grateful for every kitchen tool, the knives and zesters and cast iron pans. Especially the cast iron pans. I’m grateful for the “yums” and the “do we have more?” So yeah, I’m grateful that I have the time and space and ingredients and ability to enjoy cooking. And of course eating the cooking.
January 14, 2019 (Monday)
I’m grateful for wind. The wind that blew all night, the wind that comforts me as I fall asleep and makes the grass look pretty as it sways in the back yard. I’m grateful because it makes the world interesting. The sound of it, blowing around houses and across fields, the sound of the ocean waves on a windy day, the sound of the doors rattling, reminding me I’m safe inside.
Wind that makes the clouds flow across the sky and the leaves tumble across the ground. Wind that refreshes or takes your breath away.
It’s quite windy here, which makes it quite interesting. I’ll miss that when we go. For now I’m grateful that I can listen to it and watch it play.
January 15, 2019 (Tuesday)
I’ve been liking sitting here at sunrise and watching the sky lighten and writing peacefully. I think that’s what I’ll be grateful for today. No, that’s what I AM grateful for, today and all the days that I do it. I’m grateful for the entire process, because I am not, nor have I ever been, a morning person. It doesn’t matter if I just slept for 11 hours, I don’t like getting out of bed if it’s dark. I especially don’t like getting out of bed if it’s cold and dark. Or cold and dark and a Tuesday. So to be able to sit here just before dawn and watch the light and color spread across the sky, is very pleasant and calming.
I especially like the view from this spot on the little armchair near the door, with my favorite grasses swaying, the seagulls occasionally floating across the sky. And the way the sky lights up, first at the edges of the horizon and then the whole sky. Sometimes things turn pink or purple, sometimes they’re gray.
And during that I spend a few minutes being with the peace of the moment. Jotting down a few thoughts. Not really preparing for the day or thinking about anything in particular, just being.
I’m grateful for the time I have here, for the opportunity to sit and write and watch the sunrise and be.
January 16, 2019 (Wednesday)
I am actually, right now, sitting in the car with the groceries in the back and one of the things I bought is a bunch of fresh basil. And I keep smelling the basil from here and somewhere in the back of my mind even as I’m noticing but not really noticing, I keep thinking oooh that smells good. So why not be grateful for the delightful scent of basil today? Whether it’s growing in a garden, adorning your pasta, or sitting in the back of the car in a grocery bag. It easily brightens a day.
January 17, 2019 (Thursday)
As I sat down on this chair to write, I fluffed up the little throw pillow, the blue one with the boat knots painted on it, and thought that I really like these pillows because they’re the perfect size when you just want to put something behind your back, and they’re soft and squishy and comfy. So today I’m grateful for pillows. Pillows on beds, pillows on couches, pillows on chairs, pillows to sit and sleep on. I can’t imagine when you had to sleep on flat, hard things. I like having about a billion pillows in bed so I can stuff them all around me. Under my head, my arms, my legs, so I can prop myself up or feel cozy. I always liked when you see those homes in magazines that have like 20 different pillows on the couch. I want a lot of pretty pillows in my house. I love big, fluffy, sleeping pillows and pretty decorative pillows. I’m grateful that they exist and that they make life nicer and more comfortable.
January 18, 2019 (Friday)
You know what oddball thing I’m grateful for? Here’s a good one, and a recent addition to my life: my Plexus wheel. It’s this thing that looks like a hollow tire, literally, the outside is this textured black rubber but the inside is hard, strong plastic. There are three sizes of them, I’m guessing maybe six to twelve inches in diameter? And you’re supposed to roll on them. Roll your back, to stretch it out.
Oh my GOD I love these things. Who could have guessed that a round piece of plastic would do such wonders? I roll on them every day, multiple times a day. My back stretches and cracks and it feels amazing. If I’m having a bad back day I just roll on them for a while. If I’m sore from exercising or tired of sitting in a chair at my computer for hours on end, I roll on them. I have felt SO much better since I started using them.
I feel like a paid advertisement, but really, every day I get on them and I think dude, I love these things so much.
So yeah, that’s my gratitude. I actually am grateful for them every single day and every time I get on them.
January 19, 2019 (Saturday)
I am grateful that we have this house to live in. Have I mentioned that yet? 19 days in and I’ve already forgotten what I wrote down. I need an index.
I’m grateful that we’ve been able to spend the last two years in this house, using it as our “home base”. I guess at its core, I’m grateful to my parents for letting us stay here, for agreeing that we could stay here after we sold our house, for never asking us once when we plan on leaving.
I’m grateful that we’ve had time to recoup, and regroup, to live with minimal expense and minimal effort. I’m grateful for their support, and that their house exists, and that it’s big and beautiful and comfortable and that it exudes love.
I imagine we would have figured something out if this house weren’t here, and if my parents weren’t my parents and they told us to figure it out instead of giving us everything we could possibly need. But we didn’t have to do that. We just had to pack our stuff in boxes and show up. And live for two years with a view of my favorite grass, with a kitchen that I could cook in every day, with a thermostat that I could raise to whatever temperature would keep my ice bones warm during the winter.
Thanks to my parents and this house I didn’t have to sacrifice anything. Not money, not my space, not security, not so much as a kitchen knife.
And as much as I want to move on, see more of the world, find my own place that’s quite possibly not on an island with one grocery store… there is never a day that I wake up and don’t feel grateful that we had this opportunity, this fortune really, and that it was given with love and without conditions.
January 20, 2019 (Sunday)
It’s storming like mad out today. It started last night with wind and torrential downpour and thunder. This morning, wind and rain. It’s dark slate gray outside and the window screens are covered in raindrops. I’m grateful for days like this, for stormy weather when I’m safe inside.
I love storms. I like listening to wind, rain and thunder, I like watching lightning, I like seeing the trees and grasses bow to the wind. I like the way daytime turns to dusk. I like sitting wrapped up in a blanket by the door, watching and listening as it all happens outside and I’m cozy in here.
Stormy days are comforting. There is a pleasant sense of helplessness, where you just have to sit and defer to the power of nature. Don’t bother going out, don’t worry about anything you have to do in. There is something much bigger than you and it’s going to go on no matter what you do, so sit back and let it.
I like sunny days obviously, but I also like the storming ones. They’re interesting, they’re soothing, and they make me appreciate the fact that I am fortunate enough to be able to enjoy them safely and comfortably.
January 21, 2019 (Monday)
After months, possibly years of not podcasting, or “coming back from a hiatus” only to podcast three or four times before quitting again, we have, once again, started podcasting. The goal is twice per month, which is doable, even for busy/lazy people like us.
Today launched our second podcast of January. So far so good. And right now I’m grateful that anyone even listens at all anymore. We’ve disappeared so many times, changed topics, changed feeds, it’s a wonder anyone even knows where to find us, let alone cares. So I’m grateful to the people who continue to listen, and who keep me going by telling me they enjoy our podcast and who reach out to talk to me or ask questions. It’s nice to know there’s a point to what I’m doing and that in spite of all the delays and disappointments, people do still care. Thank you, people.
January 22, 2019 (Tuesday)
I just watched a small flock of birds fly across the sky in a lopsided V. It’s fascinating how they keep that alignment. It reminded me of how much I enjoy sitting here and watching the birds. The other day there was such a huge flock of them out on the golf course that it looked like the grass was gone. From a distance, you might think someone dumped a truckload of sand over it. But it was just birds. I guess there’s good lunch out there because I see them there pretty often.
Birds delight and fascinate me and I’m grateful that they exist and that I can spend a few minutes watching and enjoying them. Flying across the sky, pecking in the grass, hopping from tree branch to tree branch, flitting around the roof of the shed. I love the teeny baby robins and the big, elegant swans and the bulky round crows. I like the singing and tweeting and honking. I like the seagulls that float in mid-air on a breeze until they swoop down and eat whatever is in your hand.
I remember that one time I watched them explode in shards of diamonds over the roof of the house. The sun caught their feathers and filled the sky with such an amazing light that I had never seen before. The other day I watched them flying in the sunset and they were glowing white-gold in the sky.
Birds are a constant source of life in the world. Whatever the season, wherever you are, you can count on some bird or another to be livening it up. Zippy hummingbirds, waddling geese, even the exotic ones you really only see at the zoo like the fragile-looking flamingos and the giant black vultures.
They’re smart, they’re unique, they’re delightful, and they’re one of the few things I can sit and watch – much like the grass in the back yard – for a long time. They make me feel peaceful and curious at the same time. I love birds.
January 23, 2019 (Wednesday)
You know how something is such a fixture in your life that you forget to be grateful about it? You take it for granted that it’s there, but really you can’t live without it. I mean, technically you wouldn’t die if it went away but you would totally notice, like a lot. And be very, very ungrateful about it being gone.
That’s my teapot.
Nadia gave it to us a few years ago, a random thoughtful gift, and until then I had no idea I needed a teapot. It’s not any old teapot, it’s electric, and you fill it up and plug it in and choose the water temperature you want so you can make green or black or oolong or whatever you want at the perfect temperature.
Once we started using the teapot, it was a “how did I ever survive before the teapot” moment. I use the teapot every day. Many, many times a day. Mostly to make tea, or coffee for Ralph, but sometimes to just let steam into the air when it’s absurdly dry in here during the winter.
I love my teapot. It’s a central component of my day and I’m happy it’s there, even though normally I don’t think about it at all because it’s sort of an appendage. I notice it about as much as I notice my left arm, but if it wasn’t there, boy would that suck.
Anyway, my teapot is superb and I’m grateful for having it. And as a corollary cheating bit of gratitude, I’m grateful for a friend like Nadia who actually thought to send it to us.
January 24, 2019 (Thursday)
It’s rainy and windy and cloudy and misty outside right now but the air has taken on a pink tinge. It’s not like it’s even the sky. Everything is pink, the grass and trees and raindrops. The air itself has turned pink. It’s pretty wild.
I know I’ve been grateful for water, but today I can be grateful for rain. It’s not the same thing. You can love to drink water or swim in it or bathe in it, but you don’t have to like rain. Especially if it’s coming down on your parade.
But I actually like rain and I’m grateful for these rainy days. And I don’t mean that in some logical sense like “rain makes the flowers grow.” It’s January. No flowers are growing.
I like rain because of what it is. I enjoy listening to it, especially when it’s pouring down and beating on the streets and the side of the house. I enjoy watching it cascade in waves over sidewalks and pavement, bow grasses, cling to window screens. It’s lovely to see and hear. A good rainy day is a welcome intermission.
As much as I’d enjoy spending time in a place like Arizona, living there would be boring. That much sun would start to make me nuts. I love sun, don’t get me wrong. But in between I need rain and wind and storms and maybe, maybe even snow. Sometimes. So today while I watch the rain fall from my spot by the door, and I look out over the strangely pink-tinged air, I’m grateful for rain and for the enjoyable, curious nature of rainy days.
January 25, 2019 (Friday)
Do you know what I’m grateful for today? It occurred to me the minute I woke up this morning and it’s weird but it stuck. I’m grateful for soft. Since I’m always cold, I was lying there in bed with my robe spread out on top of me over the blanket, and my hand was resting on it and I thought oooh it’s so nice and soft. It feels so nice to wear soft things, to touch them with your hands or feet.
I have a shawl that Kaarina knitted for me because she is awesome and amazing like that, and it’s so so soft. I put it around me and just sit there and pet it. I know, weird. But it feels good. This is by far the softest thing I own. I could pet it all day.
Other soft things: my Hello Kitties. The blue fleece my mother gave me for Christmas.
And I mean soft, really soft. Not just silky or smooth or pliable. Those are good too, but what has really been noticeably nice lately, especially with all these cozy winter things, is the sensation of softness under my hands.
Yep, I’m at that point. Twenty five days in and I’m adding adjectives to the list. But come on, why not appreciate things that feel nice? It improves a day, doesn’t it?
January 26, 2019 (Saturday)
Here’s what I’m grateful for today: days when you can sleep in. No alarms, nothing to get out of bed for, just a day of whatever you want. You can get up at 6 or get up at 10, or get up and 6 then go back to bed at 8 and get up at 10 again. You can get up then lay in bed for hours and read or play games. Until you’re really hungry and then you decide to get up and feed yourself, after which you can go back to bed if you want to. I like days like that, when there are no pressures and nothing calling. This morning I slept until I slept, then hung out until I was done hanging out, then made breakfast and sat down to be grateful for it.
January 27, 2019 (Sunday)
I’m grateful for candles. Every morning I get up and before I make breakfast or do anything at all, I start my day by lighting a candle. I especially love the Paddywax candles, which we discovered in California and found out are made in Nashville. I think they actually used to be made in Franklin.
Anyway I enjoy them all day, from dark mornings to rainy days to sunny afternoons. It’s always a good time for a candle. I enjoy watching the flames, and I enjoy the delightful scents. Woodsy, smoky scents on cold, cloudy days, spice scents during autumn, citrusy, flower scents when it’s sunny.
I love all the beautiful containers. Sometimes colored glass, sometimes natural stone, sometimes decorative ceramic. I like just having a cabinet full of them so on any given day I can pick the scent and color and style that speaks to me.
I’m grateful for candles, for discovering these candles in particular, and for always having a collection of them to choose from each morning.
January 28, 2019 (Monday)
Last night I took out my coloring book for the first time in a long time, because it’s on my “goal” list to do more of this year. I enjoy it. It’s very zen. So today I’m grateful for coloring, and for the pretty books that can be colored and for all the delightful things to color with, like crayons and markers and especially colored pencils. I love pencils, and I love colored pencils. I’m grateful for my piles of colored pencils and time to sit down, think of nothing, and enjoy the simple act of watching pink or green or purple or red come out of the point and fill up the paper with pretty designs.
January 29, 2019 (Tuesday)
I know I have already been grateful for books twice this month, but now I’m going to add bookmarks to the list. I love bookmarks. I’ve never been one to dog-ear pages. Books are too sacred for that, even the old ones. Especially the old ones. And yes, you can use a bit of note paper or a straightened out twisty tie, but when it comes down to it there is nothing as satisfying and beautiful as a bookmark.
I have a collection of them from different times and places and people. They don’t last forever but I hang onto them as long as I can. I had one from the book store in Point Reyes, a free paper one that lasted for a year. Now I have one from Strand. I also have an awesome Hello Kitty one, and one my mother gave me with a sweet saying about daughters and a shiny sunflower. Kevin and I made a few from this metal craft kit, so I change them up depending on which goes best with the book or which makes me happiest at any given time.
So today, here’s some gratitude for those undersung heroes of reading, the ones that keep us on track and remind us where we are without ruining our lovely books.
January 30, 2019 (Wednesday)
I’m grateful for Yianni’s. Today was a tiring day and I had a massive headache and grocery shopping was annoying because after three stores I STILL couldn’t find the simplest of items and then we drove all the way to Asbury Park to go to Toast, which is closed on Tuesdays, except when it’s ALSO closed on Wednesdays and they don’t bother to say that until you get there and it’s closed. So we came back down here and went to Yianni’s, and thank god for Yianni’s. The people there are always nice and the food is always delicious and everything comes out fast and hot and thank god. I’m grateful that there is someplace we can rely on to feed us on a day like today. I’m grateful for Toni, who is always very sweet and chats with us. I’m grateful that they have amazing bagels and delightful omelets and everything is always fresh. It’s one of those places that knows your name and sometimes you need that in a day.
January 31, 2019 (Thursday)
Today I’m grateful for my backpack. This past summer as my messenger bag started to fall apart and make me look like a homeless person with a really nice laptop, I decided to get myself a Peak Designs backpack. It’s one of those expensive ones, not the kind you get for fifty bucks at an office supply store. I was toying with the idea of getting a Black Ember like Ralph has, but those are very industrial looking to me, and also large, and also complicated. But then I found the Peak Designs one and it looked very cool in the videos so I bought it.
That was a pretty significant step for me because I’m not a fan of spending money like that, especially not on myself, so it was a risk and I was already kind of prepared to be irritated by the whole thing.
Turned out to be pretty much the best purchase I made for my myself all year. Maybe even in years. It’s the perfect size for a midget like me, so it fits nicely, and can also be adjusted a million ways to Sunday.
The inside has all these velcro panels so you can make basically any size and shape compartments as you want. It’s got super convenient things like a place to stick my keys on, and these straps that tuck away into pockets that you can pull out if you want to tie something on, like an extra sweatshirt or my shawl that time I went to Starbucks and knew it was going to be freezing.
I made the inside perfectly to fit what I want to carry and I always know where everything is. It’s ridiculously easy to use. And it’s pretty.
I love my backpack, and no this is also not a paid advertisement. I just happen to really love the things I love. That backpack has been wondrous for the months I’ve used it and it’s in pristine condition no thanks to me who is a walking disaster, but because it’s made really well.
Love my backpack. Grateful that I found it and that some brilliant people thought to make it the way they did.