Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hither and yon

Yesterday, Gianna was reading a story that she wrote, and when she came to a part where her main character looked out the window at the "gleaming snow," she paused and said, "I love the word gleaming." I think she loves the delicious sound of the GL blending with the long sound of E that culminates in the hum of MING.

I can appreciate Gianna's pause to admire a favorite word because I have many words that I love. They are gifts to me. Here are a few:

#54 hither and yon
#55 nimbus
#56 glorious
#57 gurlesque
#58 kettle and mug
#59 aeolian
#60 spurtle and putz
#62 caesura

I could go on and on but let me just add that it's gift
#63 to hear a granddaughter's pause to admire a word.

And another gift is
#64 a lengthy phone conversation with my son's wife about kids, school, books, TV, friends and life.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The First Day of Spring

Stormy weather all night that continues into this morning makes our upcoming vacation all the more appealing. Not to say, I don't enjoy the rain. Here are the gifts I'm grateful for on the first day of spring:

#39 snuggling under a down comforter on a stormy night;
#40 electrical power;
#41 witnessing the athleticism of my loved ones: daughters-in-law, granddaughters and grandsons (am I the only one who gets a rush of pleasure from seeing graceful, strong bodies in action?)
#42 the utter delight of the birthday girl--Gianna is 11!
#43 a toddler in my lap enjoying a middle school production of "Annie" (did I mention that she gently stroked the backs of my hands which were holding her in place on my lap?)
#44 catching and releasing a sweet gray mouse brought into the house by our huntress cat;
#45 fertilizing the roses and strawberries with Cindy's help in the pouring rain;
#46 drinking hot tea while wrapped in blankets after fertilizing the roses and strawberries in the pouring rain.
#47 a conversation with my daughter at the kitchen counter during a lull in the kid party action;
#48 Cindy's delight in Kohl's coupons and the bargains she wangles out of those coupons.
#49 hot greasy fries from MacDonalds;
#50 homemade ice cream sundaes;
#51 screaming "Go Madam O" at roller derby as she skated skillfully around and around the rink.
#52 receiving the drawing of a shark by Athan.

It's blustery and raining sheets outside, but it's a warm spring day in my heart.

Monday, March 14, 2011

More Gifts

The point of the 1000 gifts exercise is to notice the blessings in one's life and to let that noticing do wondrous work. When the fragility of each day is so apparent in the devastation in Japan, it feels like a privilege to notice and be grateful:

#22 yummy black tea (Keemun) in the morning with half-and-half and stevia;
#23 spiral notebooks in all sizes with lined pages;
#24 Facebook postings from family near and far that are rich with life details;
#25 a partner with superb attention to detail and diligence in managing our taxes;
#26 weeding, weeding, weeding;
#27 a lay Buddhist monk who has been my guide regarding the mysteries of life for 25 years;
#28 Sangha buddies to practice with;
#29 an Oprah Winfrey show about camping in Yosemite that was laugh-out-loud funny;
#30 Skype and spontaneous calls from my brother and sister-in-law;
#31 super wonderful audio book narrators;
#32 a dependable old Subaru Legacy;
#33 neighbor kids' voices and laughter as they wait for the bus;
#34 the unsettling of and adjustment to Daylight Savings;
#35 the rush of anticipation each time I think about our upcoming vacation;
#36 reading and tutoring the literature assigned to my grandson for 11th grade English class;
#37 listening to my son-in-law's enthusiasm (and angst) as he embarks on a new career direction;
#38 Acorn slippers

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Packing for a Cruise

We don't leave for our Mexico cruise for a couple of weeks, but since we pack away seasonal clothes, we decided to bring down the boxes with shorts, tanks, and summer wear this weekend so that we could start thinking about what to bring on the trip. Now that airlines charge for luggage that is not carried on, we wanted to be thoughtful about what and how much we packed.

It wasn't long before clothes were spread all over the bed, and we were struggling into shorts that were too tight for our winter pudgy bodies. We stood before the full length mirror trying to find the best angle, wishing to see someone slimmer and more tan. Pastey white legs stretched from swim suits and belly fat hung over the edges of hip huggers. It was depressing to say the least. Cindy vowed to exercise for the next 10 days and I started an immediate fast.

Then we tried on dress-up clothes for formal night. We each found fancy outfits that totally changed our mood and made us wish we were headed for the gala evening as fast as possible. Dressed to the hilt, having also chosen fitting accessories, we stood side-by-side in front of the mirror, grinning. We knew we would look great for the last evening aboard ship and maybe if we stuck to our plan to exercise and diet, most of the other clothes would fit OK too.

When we looked back at the pile of chosen clothes on the bed, we also knew we would by paying extra for luggage.

#22 the lovely irridescent green skirt and top I bought for way too much money in Hawaii a few years ago, which looks good terrific when I've gained a few pounds;
#23 the wherewithall it took to save for this trip and the fact that it's almost here after a year and half of saving.
# 24 a body that actually will respond to 10 days of exercise and dieting to shape up a bit so I can wear my favorite shorts comfortably.
#25 dear Cindy who says all the right things when I'm feeling fat.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Grandparents Day at Waldorf

I can't remember if they had Grandparents Day when I was in school. Maybe there was such a day, but it meant little to me since my grandparents lived many states away, so I rarely saw them. But it means a lot to me now that I'm a grandparent who truly enjoys visiting my grand kids schools to see what they are doing, especially on a day designated for the elders in their life.

Uncle John, Cindy and I attended Grandparent's Day at the Sierra Waldorf School. Now that Huck is in Grade One, his class was part of the assembly. They kicked off the program by reciting a wonderful poem about a beetle and then did the entire poem again silently using hand gestures. Grade One was followed by the other grades in ascending order, which gave those of us in the audience a taste of the future. It was like watching children grow right before your eyes.

After the program, Grade Eight students escorted us to the classrooms of the children we were visiting. We went to Huck's class where he displayed two beautiful portfolios, one for math concepts and one for reading concepts. His art work was colorful and imaginative, and he took pleasure in sharing each page with us. We didn't think Huck had spotted us in the audience during the assembly, but we were wrong. He had been looking out for us just as we were looking for him.

Then we went to preschool where we sat behind Nell as the class said a blessing for the soup and bread they were about to serve. Miss Beth directed Nell to distribute napkins to guests and her friend Richard to pass out spoons. Then each child served their special guests. Can I just say that watching 4 and 5 year olds carry bowls of hot soup took my breath away. Fear and admiration were the compelling emotions. Every bowl was delivered without a drop spilled. After lunch, the children sang the good-bye song they sing each day as they take leave of their friends and teacher. Finally the children collected our dishes and headed out to the porch to wash and dry them.

Nell gave us big scrumptious hugs good-bye before leaving with Uncle John to collect Huck and go home. I am so glad I live down the road from the Sierra Waldorf School rather than states away.

#19 two grand kids attending a school I would love to have sent my kids to;
#20 Miss Beth's tender attention to those 2 children these past 3 years;
#21 The marvelously serene and talented teacher Waldorf found for Grade 1 at midyear (wish I could recall her name) . . .

Friday, March 11, 2011

1000 Gifts

I'm joining my daughter, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in listing the gifts --the multitude of blessings--that are a part of my life on a daily basis. The value of thanksgiving--of expressing gratitude--is the rapidity with which hit erases poverty mind. In a flash, the heart swells with tenderness. In her book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Ann Voskamp calls it a dare list--daring to acknowledge the grace in one's life.

Let my list begin:

#1 bird song at dawn
#2 hot baths and ibuprophen
#3 sweet messages, handwritten and electronic, from my partner
#4 someone who balances my checkbook
#5 granddaughters who greet me with genuine enthusiasm
#6 a phone call from a friend I haven't heard from in a while
#7 reading poetry as the sun rises over Table Mountain
#8 three exceptional yoga instructors, Cherie, Christian, Dee
#9 texts and email from my sons
#10 sharing confidences with my daughter
#11 the DVR that records my favorite TV programs
#12 pink blossoms on 3 ornamental plum trees again a back drop of blue sky
#13 aching muscles, the result of shoveling bark
#14 enjoying the lovely results of shoveling bark around new plantings
#15 the talking tail of my cat
#16 morning fog rolling into the meadow from the reservoir
#17 the steady tick of the burl clock our neighbor gave us.
#18 the rolling fire trail around our mobile home park that offers a place to exercise, constantly changing vistas, and innumerable wildlife sightings.