Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cleaning House with AADD

I woke up this morning with a desire to organize my kitchen. The cabinets are all in a disarray, and I figured that if I dedicated an hour or so, I could get it all done and feel really good about lazing away the rest of the day.

But as I started to get out of bed, I noticed that I had a lot of dust starting to accumulate on the ceiling fan above my bed. So, I went to get a duster.

When I got into the laundry room where the duster was located, I noticed that I had almost enough whites for a load, but I knew that there were some towels and socks in my bathroom floor that were white and should be added to the wash, so I went to get them.

Once I got in my bathroom, I started realizing that maybe I should take a shower before I did the laundry, since I might not have enough hot water for the shower if I started the laundry first.

But before I took a shower, I knew I should go sweep the front porch before it got too hot outside, and so that if I got dirty sweeping, it would all wash off in the shower. So, I went to get the broom.

As I was about to open the front door, I saw that my neighbor Brian was edging the grass next to the sidewalk in front of my house and his. So I put the broom down and went back to the kitchen to get him a bottle of water to thank him for his hard work.

When I got to the refrigerator, I remembered that I was supposed to be working on my kitchen cabinets. So, I quickly pulled all of the items out of the two lowest shelves and put them on the counter.

Then, I remembered Brian and the water, so I left that all behind and got the bottle of water and started towards the door. But then, I remembered that I hadn't yet brushed my teeth, and I didn't want to offend the neighbor with bad breath, so I went back to the bathroom to brush my teeth.

On entering the bathroom, I saw the whites that I meant to put in the wash, so I grabbed those up and started back to the laundry room. But I had too much in my hands at that point, so I started dropping stray socks and washcloths down the hallway as I walked, but I knew that if I tried to bend down and pick them up, I would drop it all, including the bottle of water that was probably getting warm tucked under my arm.

So, the items that made it to the laundry room were tossed in the washer, and I went to get a new bottle of colder water for Brian. And since I figured that if I didn't get out there soon, he would be finished and back inside and my small gesture of thanks would be lost. Remembering that I hadn't brushed the teeth, I said to Hell with it, grabbed a peppermint from one of the bags that I had pulled from the cabinet and put on the counter top, popped it in my mouth, prayed it would cover the morning breath, and made it out the door just as he was finishing up and took him the water.

Yay! One thing accomplished.

Of course, then I sat outside and talked to him for about 10 minutes, and by that time I was getting hot and sweaty. I really needed the shower. So, I abandoned the broom and went back inside the house. And a fly followed me in.

I tried to ignore him, figured he'd be dead on his own soon enough, but he kept buzzing around me as I went into the laundry room to pull a clean towel for the shower out of the dryer from the load I did four days ago, but never got around to folding and storing. And there, I see my duster. Which I needed for something, but now don't really remember what.

So, I carry the fresh towel and the duster with me back to my bathroom (where the fly follows me) and I finally swat him down with the duster and daze him enough to finish him off.

After disposing of the carcass, I wash my hands, and I see my toothbrush just as the mint is wearing off, so I brush after washing my hands.

Yay! Two things done.

I start to turn on the water for the shower, but then decide maybe to go back to the kitchen and try to make some more progress on the cabinets - again, if I'm going to get dusty and use cleaning products, it might be best to do it before I shower, so that I won't have to repeat the shower when I'm finished cleaning.

So, I get up on my step ladder to get things out of the higher cabinet shelves, at which point I have a horrible attack of Vertigo (the sickness, not the movie) and fall off the ladder. Luckily, it only has two steps, but still it freaked me out.

At that point, I'm so dizzy that I need to go lie down. So I stumble back into my bedroom and fall back onto the bed.

And as I'm lying there, staring at the ceiling fan, I remember why I needed the duster.

That was the last thing that went through my mind before I fell back asleep.

Needless to say, the day is almost halfway over, and I haven't washed the whites, folded the towels, swept the porch, dusted the fan, or taken a shower and everything in my kitchen is sitting out on the counters.

But at least I have fresh breath.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Remembrance

Every September, at the start of the school year, my father would give me a little talk about the importance of an education.

Part of the talk would always be where he reminded me that as a citizen of the United States of America, I was entitled to receive a free education. He would explain how not all children around the world had this same opportunity, and how little girls in particular were sometimes denied an education simply because of their sex. Finally, he would let me know that while I would pay nothing for my education, many others had paid dearly over the years for this freedom that I enjoyed. He wanted me to be ever mindful of those that paid the ultimate price for me, and how I should never take my education or other freedoms for granted or do anything that would disrespect the lives lost in protecting our freedom.

Each Memorial Day, I think about Dad's yearly reminder, and I give thanks that so many young men and women have given their all to protect our rights, and to help others around the world have the opportunity to grow up with the same right to an education and freedoms that I enjoyed. My great-uncles who served in the Navy and Infantry during WWII, a number of coworkers and neighbors that served in Korea and Vietnam, some friends from high school that served in the first Gulf War and the husbands and sons of friends that currently serve in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

But while so many I know have returned home safely, not all have been so lucky. My friend and coworker Courtney lost her dear son Antoine on April 10, 2004 when his tent was hit by a mortar round at Balad Air Field in Iraq. Antoine was only 20 years old. He left behind a wife and a one year old daughter. Courtney has often said that he just wanted to help people, and make a difference in this world. I believe that he did, and on this day, I honor him.

Thank you Airman Antoine Holt for giving your all so that others might enjoy freedom.

John 15:13 - Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Day 30 (for real this time)

I thought back to when I first started doing this experiment, just one month ago, and what I was feeling that led me to want to participate in the first place. As I've mentioned (ad nauseum) for the past few months, I've been over worked and sick. Those two things combined have tended to deepen my depression and increase my anxiety, and when that happens, I find myself withdrawing from the world, holing up in my house with the shades pulled down and wallowing in it all. And that makes me feel alone. So when I started this, I was deeply depressed and feeling lonelier than I can recall feeling in many years, and I figured that writing down things that I was grateful for once a day would be cheaper than going back to therapy.

Now that I'm on Day 30, I decided to go back over the last 29 days of gratefulness, in part to prevent any more repeats ala the first draft of Day 29, and in part to see if it helped me at all. And when I did, I began to see a trend. You see, more than half of the gratefuls involved the people in my life - family, friends, neighbors, coworkers. People that I love, and people that I know love me.

Day 30 - 24 May

I am grateful that I am not alone.

Days 29 and 30

I've spent the last 27 hours locked away in my house and mostly in my bed. So, I was going to be grateful for the comfortably bed (29) and my home (30), but then I realized that I was already previously grateful for the bed back on Day 7, so I scrubbed that.

I've noticed that I've become a lot more forgetful lately. Some of it has just been annoying - like forgetting my Work ID until I'm all the way out to the car, and then having to slip back into the building to find it, where I end up getting trapped into some additional work that really could have waited until next week. Or totally blanking on the actor's name while watching a favorite show and letting that drive me nuts until I finally have to get up and search IMDB to see that his name is Hugh frickin Laurie (and then spend another half hour trying to remember what was the last name of that other actor named Hugh that is also British.)

Other times, it has cost me some cash. Like when I forgot to have my car tag renewed until 3 days after my birthday and ended up having to pay a penalty. Or forgetting to update a payment amount in my automatic bill pay and coming up $10 short on a bill and incurring a late fee.

Perhaps most upsetting was finding myself chatting with a lady in line at the cafeteria at work, not recognizing her as anyone that I had ever seen before, and then having her make a comment that made me realize that I did indeed know her but had absolutely no idea who she was and therefore had to do the sneak-peak at her ID to figure out her name and recognizing that not only do I know her, I work on the same floor with her and see her almost everyday.

It could be because I've been so overworked, or it could have something to do with whatever is wrong with my health right now. I'm hoping that it is the work. Because if anything, I've always had a great memory.

So, for Day 29 - 23 May

I am grateful for my memory, even if it occasionally fails me.

I'll be back for Day 30 a little later - if I remember.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Day 28

Day 28 - 22 May

Free tickets on a lower level, company sponsored pregame cook-out, my bestest friend Tony, and a Braves' Victory. Not a bad evening, considering the hellish start to my day.

Plus, as an added bonus, for the first time in Atlanta Braves History, the person sitting behind us at the game was not an irritating ass. Hey, after 20 years of Tony and I attending games together, fortune was bound to shine on us at least once.

Must resist making obvious joke.

I am grateful for my friend Tony.

It would take hours to make even a dent in a list of all the things that he has done for me over the years. But probably the best thing is that he can always make me laugh. And today, I really needed to laugh.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Day 27

Day 27 - 21 May

Early this morning, I had to drop my father off at the airport. As we pulled up to the terminal, I noticed a large family was getting out of the shuttle in front of us. The parents got out first, and they both looked pretty normal - dressed sort of casually in blue jeans and short-sleeved shirts. But as the rest of the family started getting out, I began to notice that 4 out the 6 kids had on pajamas. Two of them even had on house slippers. And these were not cute little toddlers in footed pajamas - they were teenagers, or possibly older. The two oldest daughters looked like they were at least 20 (it could have just been the over abundance of make-up, but seriously, they were at least 17 or 18.) And there they were, with both of their parents (who should know better), strolling into the busiest airport in the world in their frigging PJs.

Now, I can pretty well bet you that these liberal parents are probably the same one's bitching about the embarrassment of having to take their shoes off at the security checkpoint or having the TSA invade their privacy by scanning them for weapons, meanwhile their teen aged daughter is traipsing past 10s of 1,000s of businessmen, and wearing a threadbare, see through, spaghetti-strapped night shirt, oversized PJ bottoms barely hanging on to her anorexic hip bones and no bra.

When I worked in Consumer Affairs, we would occasionally get a complaint letter from someone who had their baggage delayed, and they would be upset because they had to hide in their hotel room for 2 days waiting on their bag to be delivered because they had traveled in their PJs and didn't have anything to wear "out in public" while awaiting their bag. Like wearing the PJs while passing through several airports and on an airplane was somehow not "out in public."

I will admit that growing up as the daughter of an airline employee back in the days when you had to wear pantyhose and dresses when traveling on a pass, I now have a certain phobia about dressing inappropriately and being denied boarding. Heck, even though the dress-code became more relaxed a few years ago, I still make sure that I am dressed in a way that shows the appropriate amount of respect for my company. But even if I weren't an employee, I still wouldn't show up at the airport, or at any public place, dressed like I just crawled out of bed.

I realize that the world has become a much more casual place. People wear jeans to church and sneakers to the prom, and I'm fine with that. Sometimes we all need to be a little more laid back and relaxed. Still, everything has its limits, and there is a time and place for everything. So while I'll run across the driveway in my PJs to watch American Idol with my friends next door when a storm knocks out my power, I will never ever wear them to the airport, or the mall, or even the Waffle House (all places that I have seen people in their PJs.) Also, for the record, I still dress up for job interviews, weddings and funerals. It is just about respect - for others and for myself.

So today, I am grateful that my mother turned me around at the door those few times I tried to leave the house dressed like a fool. While I was probably not happy about it at the time, I am the better for it now.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Days 25 and 26

Day 25 - 19 May

I am grateful that my friend Nathan is safe following back surgery.

I'm not sure if it is because my friends and I are all getting old, or if my friends are just an unhealthy bunch, but it seems as though I've had a number of people close to me that have undergone surgery or developed some type of serious illness lately. But no matter what the reason, I am grateful that so far, all have come through safely. While there may be long recoveries and lots of pain pills in their futures, I am thankful that recovery is still an option for all of them.

Day 26 - 20 May

I am grateful for unplanned gatherings.

If you know me, you know that I watch too much TV. I'm working on that, but this week and next are all the season finales, so sue me if I don't start until after next week's episode of Lost. Tonight was the final competition on American Idol, and by 7:59, I was in my PJs, settled into my big comfy chair, with my Diet Coke in my left hand and the remote in my right. And then another hail storm hit, my power went out, and the TV with it. Within moments, the power came back, but it appeared that it was going to be at least a half hour until my satellite came back up and rebooted itself.

Cue my neighbor's Kirk and Randy, who have a back up power source on their TV and satellite, and opened their doors to me and the other neighbors who were in the same boat. Next thing I knew, I was crowded onto their couch in my PJs, with a fresh drink in one hand and American Idol on the TV. And really, it was so much more fun to watch it with a group than it would have been to watch it alone.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Five more days of gratefulness

Days 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 - 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 May

Work picked up again this week, and I've been a little too busy to blog. Or see my family. In fact, today was the first time that I've seen my brother and his family in about a month. This is terribly unusual for us as we normally get together at least once a week for a meal over at our parent's house, and I try to talk to the kids a couple of times a week. But lately, I've been almost too busy to sleep, eat and bathe, and so I have been neglectful of them. But I am always grateful for them. But they each deserve their own day (heck, probably their own week) of me expressing how grateful I am for each of them. Therefore, I will catch up by declaring my gratefulness to each of them - one per day for 4 of the last 5 days.

Day 20 - 14 May

I am grateful for my big brother Steve

It seems that most of my friends didn't (or still don't) get along with their siblings. But my brother and I were unusual in that regard. We always got along. As children, I never recall ever being angry with him over anything, and even as adults, our disagreements have been few and far between. He is almost 9 years older than I was, and I worshipped him for as long as I can remember. He is responsible for my love of history and politics. In fact, if I hadn't started working at Delta, I would have probably followed in his footsteps and become a Social Studies teacher. He is a good guy, and never ever makes me feel guilty for being smarter than him or our parent's favorite. :-)

Day 21 - 15 May

I am grateful for my sister-in-law Carrina

I've often joked that if my brother and sister-in-law ever got divorced, we would all miss him a lot. She really is a wonderful person, a good friend, and I am so thankful that my brother found her. And she was very kind and understanding that time when I accidentally said the "B" word in front of my nephew (when he was 2) and he repeated it every 3 minutes for the next 2 weeks.

Day 22 - 16 May

I am grateful for my nephew Reid

I can not begin to tell you how much I love this kid. He is kind and compassionate, has a great sense of humor and sometimes wise beyond his years. He always seems to know when I need a boost, and will call just to check in on me. We've had some great trips together, bonded over our shared love of The Beatles, and debated politics and other social issues. I can't wait to see what he does with his life. It is bound to be something incredible.

Day 23 - 17 May

I am grateful for my niece Liana

There is nothing that I can say about this one that doesn't sound cheesy (or like Paula Abdul giving some way-out, possibly drug-induced critique on American Idol.) This child is like sunshine. You can not be around her and not come away feeling happy and light. I tell you, she could make Hitler smile (and not just because she has that Nordic blond hair and blue eyes.) She has been a true joy, and I hope that her innate goodness and compassion does not dissipate as she passes through her teenage years.

and finally Day 24 - 18 May

I am grateful that my family never gives me grief or make me feel more guilty than I already do when I'm not able to be see them as much as I would like.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Day 19

Day 19 - 13 May, 11:52 p.m.

Today I am trying to convince myself that I am grateful for something that scares the crap out of me. Sort of like The Secret - maybe by saying it, I will make it so.

You see, today it was pretty much confirmed that four of the nine members of my team are taking packages and will be leaving the company within the next six weeks. This includes the three most senior people, all with 30+ years a piece with the company, and my schedule building partner. There is also a pretty good chance that at least one other person will leave the department, if not the company.

Part of what makes this so scary is that all of these people have been very possessive of their knowledge of various projects and programs, so I have not been able to learn as much as I would have hoped to during my last two years in the department. And now, I have to learn it all in 6 weeks. Plus, I will still have to keep up with my regular duties, and probably help train the new people if and when we get any. Also, three of these people are the type that rarely use all their vacation days and will regularly put in 10 and 12 hour days and weekends. And I just can not live my life like that. Sure, I will put in extra hours when I need to, but I shouldn't have to need to every single day of every single week. Overall, the whole thing puts a lot of pressure on me, and I am really afraid that I can't handle it all. I tell you, my anxiety is at peak levels right now, and being sick on top of it all has not helped.

On the other hand, it could be the best thing that ever happened to me. I could come away from it all with a promotion or pay increase, since my responsibilities will likely increase. It will give me an opportunity to grow, prove myself (to myself and to others), eliminate some of those time killing processes that we continue to do because "we've always done it that way" and exercise those streamlining muscles I've been trying to flex for the last two years. This could finally be my moment.

Therefore, today...

I am grateful for new opportunities and challenges.

Monday, May 12, 2008

12 of 12 - May 2008

Yes people, there is something more boring than a 12 of 12 spent at work: A 12 of 12 where you get really sick halfway through the work day and have to go home, where you spend the rest of the day with your head over the toilet, taking anti nausea drugs and then finally falling asleep.

Nevertheless, I tried to come up with an offering, minus all the ick.

12:01 a.m. - After the approaching tornado drama of predawn Sunday, I spent most of the day napping off and on. So, by midnight, I was wide awake again, and I figured that since I was awake, I would start my deep Spring cleaning. I started by pulling all the winter clothes out of the closet.....

12:45 a.m. - and storing them in the cedar chest.

1:06 a.m. - Yes, I know the clock says 1:16, but I do the 10 minute fake-out, where I set the clock ahead by 10 minutes so that I won't be late. Of course, I know that it is 10 minutes fast, so I end up ignoring it, hitting snooze again, and then ultimately being 10 minutes late.

7:27 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 11:49 a.m. - This is really three photos in one. You see - I live less than a mile from work, so I have this same exact odometer photo from when I left for work, when I arrived at work, and when I returned home.

7:42 a.m. - This is my snack/lunch/mint drawer in my desk. I replenished my supply of Lifesavers and Granola bars over the weekend, so now I'll have fresh breath for at least another month.

1:14 p.m. - After arriving home and being sick for about an hour, I needed a shower because I felt pretty icky. Seriously, the best thing about my house is the shower. I'm probably singlehandedly responsible for the Georgia Drought, as I will stay in the shower until the hot water runs completely out. And if I get tired, I can just readjust the direction of the sprayers and sit down on the bench and take a nap.

2:03 p.m. - After the shower, I took some medicine and settled into my chair with my pillow and blanket and watched a little TV. There's Jason Castro from American Idol on some daytime talk show. This shot is for my BFF Traci. I swear, the two of us haven't been this ga-ga over a long haired, stoner musician since we were in college.

2:21 p.m. - I'm starting to feel ill again, so I figure I better take a couple of quick shots before I end up incapacitated again. But I don't really feel like getting up, so here is a picture out of one of my windows.
2:22 p.m. - and of my foot. I had my last pedicure on last month's 12 of 12, and the toes still look pretty freshly painted. I think I got my money's worth.

2:24 p.m. - Yep, I'm gonna be sick again. But about that time, my cell phone started that horrid beeping noise that it makes when it is close to losing the charge. So I plugged it in to recharge. Told you - thrilling day going on here.

2:53 p.m. - the meds are getting the best of me, so I'm going to lie down for a while.

9:10 p.m. - I'm awake again, and I feel a little hungry, but after the day that I had, I'm afraid to put anything solid into my stomach. So, cherry Jello or tapioca pudding? Like that is even a choice. Went with the cherry Jello.

Hopefully, next month's 12 will be better. Oh hell, how could it be worse? I'm planning to take the kids on a day trip that week, and the 12th is the day that I'm eyeing.

Oh, and as an addendum, today is Day 18 of the gratefulness experiment. Today I am grateful for finally feeling a little better after a day of feeling horrible.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Day 17

Day 17 - 11 May, 3:45 p.m.

I am grateful for the love of my aunt Charlsie.

Today would have been my aunt Charlsie's 75th birthday. But unfortunately, fate and pancreatic cancer had other plans.

Charlsie was my mom's older sister by 14 months. They were so very different, and at the same time, so very much alike. I use to love to hear them each tell a story about the same event in their childhood. You would get two completely different stories - it was almost like they were in alternate universes as they grew up. But, on the things that really mattered, they were very much the same. They loved their families, would always help someone in need, and were loyal to a fault. And like their mother, they both would follow you out to the car when you left their homes, and wave goodbye from the carport as you pulled away.

As a little girl, I use to tell people that I had two grandmothers and a Charlsie. I thought that everyone had a Charlsie.

Charlsie was the ultimate homemaker, and she had a kitchen filled with every gadget and new small appliance that came out. And a lot of Tab. She was the first person that I ever knew that had a refrigerator with an ice maker. She was also an incredible seamstress, and she made my cheerleading and majorette uniforms. They each had a tag that said, "Handmade by Charlsie." I still have most of them stored in the attic.

In the early 70s, Charlsie began studying astrology and metaphysics. It would later become her career, and by the time she passed, she would have 1,000s of clients from all over the world. As with anything she did, I was completely enthralled and wanted to learn all about it. I was only about 7, so we started out simple - things like palm reading, dream interpretations and numerology. By the time I was 12, she was doing yearly astrological readings for me, and teaching me how to diagram my own birth chart and progressions. My readings with her were like therapy sessions, and no matter how depressed or discouraged I was over some relationship drama, breakup or career misstep, I always walked away from our talks with a renewed sense of hope and confidence in myself and my abilities.

Much of what Charlsie learned was self-taught, and she had a wonderful collection of books. She would make notes in the margins, bookmark important passages, and even purchase duplicate copies of her favorites as she wore out the originals through her frequent use. Whenever my mother and I would visit her home, I would inevitably slip away from the two of them and go sit beneath the big tall bookcase in the living room, where I would pour over her many books to learn more on my own. It was something that I would continue to do over the years, as the one book case grew to two, then overflowed into a closet and finally spread out over her office and into a basement library in her mountain home.

Although she is gone, I still find a way to commune with her through her books, which I inherited and have in my own library upstairs. And it always seems, that on the days that I find myself missing her the most, I will open a book and find a note in a margin that speaks to me at that moment and gives me the hope or confidence that I need. And sometimes, it will just be a bookmark made from a note card with a recipe for pound cake. But either way, she still talks to me and lets me know that she loves me.

And for that, I will always be grateful.

Only 10 minutes left

You know if your phone rings at 4:57 a.m., it is rarely a good thing.

Well, this morning my phone rang at 4:57 a.m.

It was my neighbor Kirk, calling to warn me that according to our local news affiliates, a tornado was a'coming. It was scheduled to hit our city at 5:07 a.m., so I had 10 minutes. Since we have already had some pretty bad tornadoes that hit the nearby downtown Atlanta area earlier this year, I took the call pretty seriously.

So - what to do in those 10 minutes?

Well, I got up out of bed. This was especially painful since I couldn't fall asleep last night and therefore I was up cleaning the house until 3:30 a.m. So great, my clean house is going to get blown away, and no one will ever believe that it really had been clean at least once.

First thing out of bed, I decided that I better go to the restroom, cause you wouldn't want that urge to strike just as the tornado did, as who wants to be swept away like Dorothy while sitting on the turlet? After that, I threw on some jeans and a sweater over my nightgown, grabbed a pair of socks that I don't like (and therefore don't mind ruining) and my Crocs, pocketed my cash, credit cards, cell phone, camera and car keys, and moved to the middle of the house, and away from the windows.

And then I started thinking about what else I might want to save in the event that the house blew away in the next 8 minutes. So, I went back and got my passport (so I wouldn't have to go through the drama of replacing it) and my grandmother's engagement ring. After that, I figured that Mom had copies of all the old family photos that I cherish, and everything else is easily replaceable with insurance money. So, with 6 minutes left, I went back to the middle of the house, and away from the windows.

Then I got thirsty. Luckily, the kitchen is close to the middle of the house. So I made a Diet Coke. Don't worry - I put it in a plastic cup. Then I went back to the middle of the house, and away from the windows.

As I waited it out, I debated calling my parents and/or my brother. But then I figured that if the storm was within 4 minutes of hitting my house, it had already passed their houses and they were all probably safe and sound and asleep. And would be mad if I woke them up at 5:03 a.m. on a weekend.

At 3 minutes til, I had to use the bathroom again. But I decided to hold it (although, the chances were high that if the storm really hit my house, it wouldn't matter anyway.)

With 2 minutes left, the curiosity in my soul got the better of me and I had to know what was happening, so I moved away from the middle of the house, and toward the big front windows.

I have two tall trees in my front yard. One is alive and well, the other is dead and has an appointment with a tree cutting service for the week after next. So of course, the healthy tree is bent over the power lines, looking as if it will snap in half at any moment and dropping small branches all over the place. Meanwhile, dead tree is standing firm.

At 1 minute til, the wind started howling, the hail started coming down and everything (except dead tree - still firm) began leaning to the left at a 45 degree angle. So I quickly moved back to the middle of the house, and away from the windows, with my Diet Coke in a plastic cup and very full and heavy pockets. (It is nice to know that the knee will work when it really needs to.)

After that, it all passed pretty quickly. I was fortunate enough that the only impact seems to be a few small tree branches scattered on the street, lots of little leaf clusters in the driveway, and a good, thorough watering of the new azaleas we planted this past week.

Of course, now I'm wide awake again.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Day 16

Day 16 - 10 May, 2:35 p.m.

I am grateful for Lazy Saturdays.

and trust me, I really needed this one.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Day 15

Day 15 - 09 May, 11:13 p.m.

I am grateful that my best friend Traci made it through surgery OK.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Day 14

Day 14 - 08 May, 11:38 p.m.

I am grateful for leftovers.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Day 13

Day 13 - 07 May, 11:51 p.m.

I am grateful for people who honor my father and his many contributions to the Big D.

Probably, next to my mother, my niece and nephew, my brother and sister-in-law and myself, the thing that gives my father the most joy and pride in life is his long association with Delta Air Lines.

Dad started working for Delta in 1953 - the same day that their first merger, with C&S Airlines, was announced. He worked for the company for 42 years, under the leadership of the beloved founder of the company, through every single merger and acquisition. He also created a division that saved the company billions of dollars during his tenure. Since his retirement, he has done more than I can possibly mention in support of the company and its people - he has consulted for those that took over his division, been elected to the office of Vice President for one retiree group, and to the Board of Directors of another. Sometimes it seems like he spends more time working for the company than I do, and I get paid to be there.

And so, it was especially nice that he was invited to be one of only 40 employees and retirees who were flown to Washington, DC this morning to accompany our CEO and President as they testified before a Senate subcommittee reviewing the pending merger. It was a wonderful honor for him, and everyone was so kind to him. There was a flight attendant who took him under her wing, got him cab vouchers and ensured that he didn't have to schlep through the Metro on his bad knees with the rest of the group. And the entire group gave Dad a standing ovation when he was introduced at the luncheon as the person in the group with the longest time with the company.

You know, it isn't too unusual for a child to think that their father is the greatest. But it feels especially nice when other people treat him that way too.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Days 9, 10, 11 and 12

Let’s see now – where was I?

Oh yes, being grateful.

That is, until I got too busy at the big D, had to work 14 days straight (the last couple of those being 10 and 12 hour days). So now, let me see if I can catch up on my gratefulness.

Day 9 - 03 May

I am grateful for the upcoming raises my company announced this past week.

Trust me, after working as much as I have in the last little bit (and as something that repeats every 3-4 months) I am not paid nearly enough.

Day 10 - 04 May

I am grateful that I survived.

Day 11 - 05 May

I am grateful that I got to sleep undisturbed until noon on my first day off in way too long.

Day 12 - 06 May, 11:05 p.m.

I am grateful that my true friends and most loved family members do not give me grief when I disappear from their lives for weeks at a time when work gets crazy.

They understand that I love them, care about them and send good vibes to them even when they haven’t asked (or maybe they have asked, but I just haven’t gotten around to reading all of their emails or catching up with their blogs to know that they have) and that I would much rather have spent the last three weeks enjoying their company, rather than spending all of my time at work.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Day 8

Day 8 - 02 May, 11:14 p.m.

I am grateful that I have kind neighbors.

As I mentioned previously, I've worked the last 12 days straight, and will probably have to work tomorrow and Sunday too. But when I got home tonight, my grass had been cut, my yard edged and my hanging ferns on the front porch had been watered.

In the game of good neighbors, I'm currently 3 for 3.

Day 7

Day 7 - 01 May, 11:27 CST

I'm sure that I'm grateful for something, but after working the last 11 days straight (and some of those days being 12 hour work days) I'm just too tired to figure out what that might be.

How about - I'm grateful that I have a comfortable bed. And I think I'll go visit it now.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Day 6

Day 6 - 30 April, 11:59 p.m. (OK - I'm cheating, so sue me.)

I am grateful for truly good friends I have made at past jobs.

Although I've only worked for 4 different companies over the span of my work life, I've held 15 different positions in about 10-12 different departments. And at each job, I've tended to make a close friend or two along the way. You know, the person or people who you share lunches and breaks with, discuss who got booted off whatever reality show last night with, complain about the office crazy person/awful boss with, celebrate good times with, bond over bad times with, play secret Santa with and for the most part, spend more waking time with than you do your own family. These coworkers are like your second family.

And then you get a new job.

In most cases, after promising to keep in touch, you slowly lose track of them, only occasionally bumping into them at the mall (especially if one of the former jobs was at the mall), then seeing them only enough to recognize that they look familiar, but not really remembering their name, until they are completely gone from your mind, other than maybe vaguely recalling that sweet guy who worked on the shipping dock who you use to go to each lunch with down at the lake by the nearby cemetery (for real - it was pretty and peaceful) back in the early 90s.

But then there are the ones that you never forget. They are people who move beyond the place of being a lunch partner because they are convenient, and become one because you genuinely enjoy their company. People who you still make a big effort to see or keep in touch with, even when it becomes difficult because they quit the company, moved out of state, or had kids and just don't have a lot of free time.

Tonight I had a call from one of those friends. Cynthia and I worked together at SunTrust. We were in the same work pod, had the same break and lunch schedule, and even carpooled for a while. Then she got a job at Delta, but we still remained friends. And once I went to work at Delta, it became easier again. While we never worked in the same building, we would still make a point to get together for lunch, take an occasional day trip or go to a hockey games. (She had season tickets.)

Then one day, I had to cancel plans to go to a hockey game with her at the last minute. Another friend suggested she take a guy the friend knew that loved hockey. And the next thing you know, Cynthia and this guy were married, moving to Florida and having a baby. See - sometimes me flaking out on a friend has a happy ending after all.

Anyway, the point is, I'm glad that I still have friends like Cynthia, and Bonnie, and Connie, and Laura, and Stacy Aylse, and Glenda and Kim. People who made the days at those various jobs bearable, and who are still worth remembering and holding dear, even if it has been way too long since I've seen some of them. I love them all, and will always appreciate what they brought to my life.

Oh - and just so you know, I still remember shipping dock/cemetery guy's name. I could never forget shipping dock/cemetery guy.