Filed under: Life

13 Things I’m Grateful For

Friday, June 13th, 2008 • No Comments on 13 Things I’m Grateful For

It is the dreaded Friday the 13th and, since I woke up this morning, I have felt as if the day deserves it reputation.  Not that anything particularly tragic or sinister has happened today, I’m simply having One of Those Days.  You know, when everything you do seems to go wrong and everything you touch crumbles in your hands?  Yes, one of those days.  So, rather grumbling about it (anymore than I already have) or hiding in bed until tomorrow (not really an option), I thought I’d remind myself of the things I’m grateful for.  Thirteen of them, to be exact.

1.  I’m grateful for the wildlife that visits my backyard each day.  The chickadees, cardinals, blackbirds, mourning doves, bluejays, finches, squirrels, butterflies, turtles, rabbits and raccoons remind me that, although I live in suburb hell, nature is right outside my back door.  (The bluejays, in particular, are delighting me lately.  They like peanuts, so I line peanuts up on the deck and watch as they swoop down to get them—sometimes being picky about which one they take.)

2.  I’m grateful I have a trustworthy mechanic.  Having a sixteen year old car requires occasional repairs and I’ve been lucky enough to have the same guys working on my car for the past eight years.  They’re quick, reliable and don’t charge me for things I don’t need.

3.  I’m grateful they opened a Starbucks 4.4 miles from my house a year ago last month.  With gas prices what they are and the fact that I do drive an old car, it’s nice to have my “office” so close.  Very nice, indeed.

4.  I’m very grateful for kind editors who send me thoughtful notes telling me how much they liked a particular story I’ve submitted.  On a tough writing day, a note like that makes all the difference between me writing a couple thousand more words or giving up and taking a 3-day break.

5.  I’m grateful for conscientious editors who pay me in a timely fashion.  On a tough writing day, getting a check in the mail is a nice reminder that this thing that I spend my days doing not only feeds my soul, but also feathers my nest a little, too.

6.  I’m grateful my four year old PowerBook is still humming right along.  These babies aren’t cheap and when I bought it, I had hoped to get five years’ use out of it.  It’s been dropped once and in for service twice and I’ve gone through three batteries and four power cords, but it’s still working for me.

7. I’m grateful Jay is not deployed to any scary places (this time).  I’m also grateful that he’ll be in Florida next month so I can visit him!  It smooths the sharp edge of a six-month deployment just a little.

8.  I’m grateful I have always been an independent person who does fairly well on my own.  This past year has been one of long stretches of solitude.  Jay left for Rhode Island last July and was there for nearly eight months, with the exception of holidays and long weekends.  He was home for a mere six and a half weeks before deploying and won’t be home for another four months.  That is a long time to live alone when one is married, but I think I’m doing okay.  I hope he’s doing okay.

9.  I’m grateful for the friends who have helped me do okay.

10.  I’m grateful for the little luxuries that make taking a long, hot bath an evening ritual: Lush bath bombs, More, Cooking Light, the New York Times Sunday Magazine and paperback novels.  (And the occasional cat who wanders in and look at me as if I’m insane to be soaking in water.)

11.  I’m very, very grateful I decided to take the summer off from teaching.  I’m writing like I haven’t written in a long time and I love it.

12.  I’m grateful my air conditioning (car and house) is working.  We’ve had a run of upper 95+ days and it’s nice to stay cool.

13.  I’m grateful for the choices I’ve made that have given me a pretty terrific lifestyle.  Even on days like today when everything is going wrong, I have to remind myself that I didn’t get up to an annoying alarm clock, I don’t have to wear what someone else considers appropriate work attire, I’m not working in a cubicle, I don’t have to answer to anyone else and I am doing what I love most.  That is something to be grateful for.

I feel better already.

Posted by Kristina in Life

Time Marches On

Friday, May 9th, 2008 • No Comments on Time Marches On

Somehow, the days have slipped away… and in the days since I last blogged, I had a birthday.  Didn’t notice?  That’s okay… I was pretty low key about it this year.  41 seems so… mature.  Grownup.  Serious.  Old.  I wasn’t all about the birthday this year, though I had (and am still having) a lovely birthday.  There were all sorts of goodies and cards and flowers and chocolate… I still have Birthday Week gifts to open and perhaps a few more lunches, dinners and outings to celebrate the occasion.  So, it’s not as if I went into seclusion for my birthday.  I just didn’t


it every day for a month as I have in previous years. smile 

It seems as if I spent years thinking about what I would do for my fortieth birthday—as if that magic number took forever to roll around—and here I am at forty-one.  Solidly in my forties, though I rarely feel like it.  I have friends who are a decade younger and I don’t feel like they can out-anything me.  But I am definitely 41, not 31.  I am now the target of those life insurance commercials (If you were born between 1928 and 1968, call us for more information… ).  I have an IRA and think about where we will retire almost as often as I think about becoming a mother in my 40s.  The two thoughts seem at odds with each other… and in other ways, it seems to make complete sense for me.

Birthdays always make me more contemplative and turning 40 wasn’t quite what I thought it would be.  I expected adventure and a new sense of freedom, and there was some of that.  But I lost a lot in the past year—more than I could have imagined.  Forty became a year of letting go… of realizing that I can’t change anyone, fix things beyond my control or help people who don’t want to be helped—and sometimes not even then.  I also learned that I reach the point where I no longer wish to try because it takes more out of me than I care to give.  I discovered there comes a moment when time runs out and hope dies and time sometimes heals old wounds and some hurts will never, ever go away. 

Forty was a year of opportunities and learning; unexpected joys and startling sorrows.  I put a lot of pressure on 40 to be spectacular, and it wasn’t.  Not entirely.  It was a year of self-discovery.  Or the continuation of self-discovery.  I don’t know what 41 will bring, but I don’t think I’m finished learning just yet.

Posted by Kristina in Life

Wishing on a Firefly

Saturday, April 12th, 2008 • 4 Comments on Wishing on a Firefly

When I was a kid, I thought fireflies (or lightning bugs) were myths, like unicorns and dragons.  Seriously.  You see, I grew up in south Florida and I never saw a firefly.  As far as I know, they don’t live in south Florida.  I never saw snow until I was eighteen, but for some reason, I believed it was real.  Not so the little firefly.  The first time I saw a firefly was in Tennessee after Jay and I had gotten engaged and I’d gone to meet his family.  I saw these flashing lights in the trees and wondered aloud what they were.  He probably thought I was nuts, since I was 23 years old and certainly old enough to know fireflies were real.  (He married me anyway.)  I was as delighted to see my first firefly as I was to see my first snowfall.  How awesome to watch these tiny little bugs flash-flash-flashing against the dark night sky.

Each year since then—because since getting married I have always lived where there are fireflies—I make a wish on the first firefly of the year.  Kind of like shooting stars, I suppose—which is what I sometimes think I’m seeing out of the corner of my eye.  I still marvel at them and when one gets in the house, I make sure to catch it and release it outside, watching it flash in my hand the entire time.  (I have a catch-and-release philosophy for all bugs that get in the house, except ants and roaches, but none mesmerize me like the firefly.)

I saw my first firefly of the year about half an hour ago and I made my wish.  It’s a smaller wish than wishing on a star.  After all, fireflies are so much smaller than shooting stars, but it was a nice wish.

I believe in fireflies and I believe wishes can come true.

Posted by Kristina in Life, Musings

I'm a writer, editor, blogger, mama, wife and coffee lover.