Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Thankful Month - Saving the Best for Last

And now my month of thankfulness is drawing to a close, and I have to confess that I've quite stereotypically saved the best for last: the single greatest thankfulness of my entire life.

I'm thankful for my husband.

Eight years ago on this very night, he and I were talking on the phone, saying goodnight and staying up way too late talking about everything and nothing.  I can say that with certainty because it was something we did every night without fail during that time of "getting-to-know-you" leading up to our first meeting in person in December of 2005.  We tried quite hard not to fall too deeply for each other until we at least met in person to find out if we were compatible, but we both failed quite miserably on that front: by the time I drove up 3 hours to Youngstown to meet him for the first time a week or two before Christmas, the butterflies in my stomach were only exceeded by the growing spark of love in my heart for him.

Looking back at that time, I marvel at how little I knew the man that I continue to learn inside and out.  How scared I was to follow my heart instead of what logic would deem wise (jumping into a relationship immediately after an emphatically failed one).  And yet it's so very true what they say about love and finally finding your true other half in another person.  It really is a moment of revelation, when the things you always tried to convince yourself were true of past relationships are instead felt on an intrinsic level, the same way you know snow is beautiful when it first falls, or a cat's purr can comfort all ills. 

I can honestly say that for the past eight years, I've never stopped growing deeper and more enthusiastically in love with Tom.  There hasn't been a day that I haven't eagerly anticipated coming home to him at the end of the day.  We live peaceably and comfortably, with a strong awareness behind all that we do that we can go out and take risks and have bad days and be scared and know that behind and underneath and at the base of it all, we have a solid foundation of love and belonging that will never ever budge or falter.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Twenty-Nine

Today I am thankful for home...the concept, and also ours specifically.  Thank you, Catty-Corner Cottage, for sheltering us and keeping us safe.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Twenty-Eight (Thanksgiving)

I am thankful for the marvelous tradition of the Macy's Day Parade.  And the fact that now that we've seen Santa, I can get full-on crazy for Christmas without the pre-Turkey Day naysayers objecting!  Heehee <3

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Twenty-Seven

Today I am thankful for fairy tales.  Magical stories that extend my sense of wonder and enchantment into adulthood.  I honestly don't know who I would be without them.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Twenty-Six

There's a beautiful ice blue twilight color, when the snow is starting to  muffle all sounds, and the skies look like a snow globe.  We had one of those twilights tonight, and it was beautiful.

A Thankful Month Day Twenty-Five'm thankful for early-to-bed, sleep-in-in-the-morning sleeps on nights when you just can't seem to keep your eyes open.

Sorry for the late thankfulness post! 

Hide in Blankets by Carol Wilson

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Twenty-Four

Today I am thankful for favorite Christmas songs and albums that make me feel warm and relaxed and comforted.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Twenty-Three

I am so thankful for wonderful coworkers who are willing to be silly, geeky, and throw themselves into having fun for the sake of our patrons.

We had a Doctor Who 50th Anniversary party today.  108 attendees got their picture taken in front of the Tardis with props and masks available to use, watched episodes of the show on a large-screen tv, painted their Companion Tardis keys with various colored nail polish, filled out coloring sheets and imagined new outfits for the new Doctor, and did a huge scavenger hunt that took them all over the building searching for little paper aliens (the Silence) hidden everywhere with prizes at the end. 

There were tons of costumes, lots of smiles, and a great time was had by all.  We employees were no exception.  :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Twenty-Two

Today I am thankful for....

Art!  And the marvelous feeling it gives me to create!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Twenty-One

Not the best picture of today's thankfulness, but today I'm thankful for the Dollar Tree!  Thanks to the combination of the Dollar Tree and creative internet sources, I'm able to create all kinds of fun decorating projects for the holidays in a price even I can afford. 

Today I went by there and picked up some miniature Christmas trees, which, combined with mason jars and some epsom salt snow, make a fun little holiday detail for $1!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Twenty

A couple of days ago, Tom and I were out for a walk and strolled past our fence line in the back yard. 

"Wait...was that a rose I just saw?!" I asked, surprised. 

Tom knows, and if you know me well you also know, that I keep a pretty close account of the plants in my garden, and I knew, or thought I knew, that my new rose bush had officially long since gone into hibernation mode and showcased lovely deep red rosehips.  And yet there it was, leaning out beyond the fence line for passersby to see, defying all logic and also defying the first winter snow, frost-filled mornings and frigid temperatures. 

It wasn't the last rose of the summer, really...because it has never known summer temperatures.  It budded, blossomed, and bloomed in the cold of autumn, and I don't expect it to last much longer.  But it was beautiful, and it was an achingly poignant reminder that no matter how our days are numbered, we should try to fill them, both for ourselves and for those around us, with beauty.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Nineteen

This has been a really enjoyable project to pursue this month.  And I've tried to keep each post very authentic, meaning I've intentionally not created a "backlog list" of future "thankfulnesses" to post on future dates.  Instead, each day I try to look back at its end and think about what stood out that very day as something to be thankful for.

Today has been a fine day, but I find myself sitting here at its end blanking on what I want to be thankful for.  Curled up on the couch watching Antiques Roadshow with Tom, I whined to him that I had no idea what to write.  His response "isn't it nice to have a life so good that the greatest worry you have to think about is what to be thankful for that day?"

Thanks, just gave me today's answer.  <3

An old picture from a year ago when I was working on my niece's fairy tale artwork of Thumbelina

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Eighteen

I am thankful for friends of cloth and stuffing who can comfort us (no matter what age) when we are huddled in the basement during a frightening storm.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Seventeen

Today we spent a couple of hours starting our Christmas decorating.  I'm thankful for the marvelous enthusiasm and energy that gives me.  I'm thankful I got to listen to our absolute favorite Christmas CD today, sort through our bins and put out displays that make my heart feel warm.

Here's a tiny sneak preview:

Meet our Tomte, our version of the Elf on the Shelf, made by Deborah Bowes

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Sixteen

Today I am thankful for running.  I got out of the habit, for way too long, but I've been taking baby steps toward it again.  It's just incredible when you get out and jog, walk briskly, engage your body in nature, how it can reawaken your senses, give you a natural elation. 

Two years ago I ran a 5k. Maybe someday I can do another one. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Fifteen

When I was a little girl, I used to adore taking long long long long hot steaming baths, especially in the wintertime.  When I would get out of the bathtub, mom would set up a pile of warm towels in front of a space heater, and basically burrow me completely down in the towels, with only my head peeking out.  We would make sure the towels never touched the space heater so it would be relatively safe...and then I would lay there for what seemed like hours in what I can only describe now as a zen-like state of total calm and peace, with the warm air blowing against me, surrounded by fluffy warmth.

To this day, my greatest therapy and relaxation techniques involve water, heat, and burrowing.  The closest I've come to recreating this feeling is taking a long hot hot shower at the YMCA where Tom and I used to be members, and then getting out and walking to the sauna right next door, where I would lay there in my towel for as long as I could, letting the warm air surround me.

Last night I took a long therapeutic hot hot shower, and I felt so at peace in that moment.  I am thankful today for that experience of comfort that comes from the combination of heat and water on a cold winter day.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Fourteen

I am so thankful for my job, where I get to spend my days surrounded by this:

...and sometimes cuddle tiny baby puppies, like this one today:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Thirteen

Today I am thankful for my mom.  Sometimes, no matter how old we are, if we're going through a hard time, the greatest comfort can be mom.

Thank you, mom, for bringing me that comfort today.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Eleven

Today I am thankful for my Faeriecon family of myth-makers, dreamers, and magic believers.

I was unable to attend Faeriecon this year (it was this past weekend) because we used up our vacation funds on our anniversary Disney trip.  But my sweet and awesome friend Jenny Davies-Reazor, who incidentally is also a phenomenal jewelry and tile and sculpture artist, decided that if I wasn't going to attend, she wanted to have a "Flat Grace" to share the weekend with.  I sent her a handful of pictures of me in full length and appropriately-garbed, and then my amazing friends and loved ones did the rest.

I expected Jenny to pick one picture, but instead they had me wear a "costume" on each of the two main days of the convention....a pretty purple dress for "Good Faeries" day, and a black corset, skirt, and sword for "Bad Faeries" day. 

As you can see, I cavorted with Faerie folk, Green Men, Faerie-smashing warriors, a Nagini, a Goblin King, some witches, some unicorns, and much much more.  So far I've seen over 50 photos taken of Flat Grace over the weekend, and I hear there are even more to come.  I seriously thought maybe I'd see two or three pictures from the weekend, and that already would have made my day...I've hardly been more giggly or felt more loved in my life!

Seriously, everyone who took the time to spend a moment with Flat Grace this weekend, thank you.  I've been pretty down the last month or so, and this was a much-much needed, and HUGEly appreciated outpouring and expression of love.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Ten

Today, being the bibliophile I am, I'm thankful for books.

"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge. That's why I read so much Jon Snow.”  -- Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones

"You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me."  -- C.S. Lewis

I have a display in the corner of my living room that I basically think of as my "homage to books."  

First there's the book tree, reverently kept under glass in its golden urn, ready to grow new volumes and tales:

When our library closed for a major renovation, we pitched a lot of old items we hadn't used in ages.  I had to rescue this "quiet please" sign though...the perfect decoration for a librarian's home.

And a couple of volumes even act as a platform for the plant at top.

The newest bookshelf in the house is only partially filled.  Don't worry...this will change quickly enough.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Nine

Today I am thankful, like Bilbo Baggins, for a home that can bring comfort and warmth and safety when it's needed.

"You're right. I often think of Bag End. I miss my books, and my arm chair, and my garden. See, that's where I belong; that's home, and that's why I came cause you don't have one.. a home."

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Eight

One word: Tea.

A warm blanket and the extended version of The Hobbit don't hurt either.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Seven

Today I am thankful for the little furry bundle of joy who just celebrated his 13th birthday with his family.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Six

Today I woke up and looked out the window to see the first cardinal of the year!

Our Hawthorn in the back yard is, for whatever reason, a cardinal magnet in the wintertime when the leaves are all gone.  In the summer we don't see a one, but as soon as the weather turns, there they are!

This cardinal is a sign of the passing of the seasons.  And boy is he handsome!

Today I am thankful for the beauty of the seasons changing, and the little rituals and observances we create to relate to them.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Five

Today I am thankful for my body.

Let me explain.  I recently had a health scare that wound up being nothing, but ended up getting me so on edge while I waited for the results that I've been having a hard time convincing myself lately that I no longer have to be in that "fight or flight" mentality.  My anxiety levels and paranoia are ramped up, and I've finally had to start making a conscious effort to calm myself down.

One thing that has occurred to me recently is the fact that even though this health scare wound up being a false alarm, that doesn't guarantee it will always be so.  Bodies break down over time: it's just another one of those facts of life.  Faces crease, hands get stiff, and eyesight softens.  And the acceptance of this is a lifelong quest each person has to walk on their own.  But today I choose to begin with one step: being thankful for this body that I'm in right now, at this very moment.  I'm thankful that in the morning I can get out of bed with relative ease and only wince with bleary complaint over the alarm instead of legitimate complaint over the aches in my bones.  I'm thankful for the legs that walked me around all four parks of Disney World at rapid speeds (we really booked it to get to all we wanted to do) less than a month ago.  I'm so very thankful for these eyes that may be legally blind without my glasses, but *with* the glasses or contacts can help me drive, see the world's beauty, and  And I'm thankful for these hands that can share expressions in images with photographers, that can reach out and stroke the face of a loved one, and that can grasp a pencil and create an outlet for the worlds that I imagine. 

Yes, sometimes my stomach cramps from eating spicy food, my joints swell from weather changes, and my knees ached at times during those days at Disney.  My body is far from perfect.  But there are so many things about it that I take for granted. 

This morning I tried to take an image to convey my thankfulness for my body as it stands right here, today. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Four

Today I am thankful for this:

This golden light that filters through the windows from the fire orange-red of the maple tree in front of our house, reminding me from the moment the sun rises until it sets again that yes, it is autumn's heyday, and I should savor every moment of it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Three

Today I am thankful for a husband who is willing to patiently go to "just one more store"...."just one more store..." in search of crafting supplies for Christmas presents, and the perfect new matching lamps for our bedside tables.  He knows once I get a bee in my bonnet about something I notice in a picture I take of our house, I don't rest until it is fixed/changed. 

I love you, hon!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Thankful Month Day Two

Tom and I were both very excited to wake up this morning because it was a special day today: Mattress Day!

Our memory foam mattress is probably about 8-10 years old (it was an exchange with a family member so I'm not sure just how old) and it had slowly over time gone from super comfy to not so much anymore.  We didn't realize just how terrible it had gotten until we went on our trip to Disney and slept in a good comfortable bed.  And then about three weeks ago, I slept wrong and completely messed up my neck and spine.  After weeks of working on it, it's *almost* better, but every night sleeping in the bed wasn't helping it either.

Sooooo last Sunday we ordered a mattress, and today it came!  And this time we had no problem getting the bed upstairs thanks to a split box spring and a hinged mattress.  You might remember, I definitely do, how terrible a time we had getting our old bed into the bedroom when we moved in.  This time the movers had it upstairs and ready to go in 10 minutes. 

So tonight we get to sleep in a new, supportive, marvelous bed!  Definitely something to be thankful for!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Thankful Month Day One

Back in 2011, I resolved to spend the month of November recounting and ruminating on the many blessings in my life for which I was thankful.  You see...I'm one of those terrible people who start celebrating the Christmas season as soon as Halloween is over.  It's my favorite holiday and I want to stretch out my enjoyment of it as long as possible (although until after Thanksgiving I try to be subtle and quiet about it so as not to frustrate others).  However, I don't ignore Thanksgiving.  To me, the "Christmas season" includes two holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The month of November prepares us and our hearts to be in a spirit of thankfulness and joy.  December and Christmas then celebrate this warmth and magic we've fostered in our hearts.

So I begin Thankful Month by celebrating one of the things I am by far most thankful for in my life: my Grandma.  Every Friday night without fail (barring traffic jams, snow storms or illness) we take her out to dinner, and all three of us look forward to the experience all week long.  I am so very thankful for every aspect of my Grandma: her mischievous wit, her kind heart, her steadfast love for family.  And her ability to pack away the dinner when she really enjoys it!  (like buffalo wings!)  We give her a round of applause every time she finishes her meal. 

So tonight I am thankful for our Friday nights with Grandma ritual.  I cherish them more than I can say.

Taken tonight at Steak and Shake, where she orders the Prince Royale burger: a Royale meal for a Queen!