We have a new President. Many people have great hope. I am reading, listening, and staying open to […]

My week oscillated between sad and glad.  As I watch the unfolding of the political climate around me, I feel sad because the energy is not giving way to productivity.  Instead, tweets mire me in insults and nastiness.  Sad!  Still, I am buoyed by thoughtful people reminding us that kindness, openness, and thoughtful discussion are our best weapons. I went to the movies because, well, because I was still Sad!  Next I remembered that soon I will have a whole week with CeCe’s kids while she goes on a cruise with her hubby.  Glad!

This weekend, I reminded myself that I have so many things for which to give thanks:

Some shameless self-promotion while I hobnob with award-winner, Tiffany.

This weekend, Loved-One and I trekked to mid-Michigan to attend our niece’s bridal shower.  Such a long trip mainly because we ran into lake-effect snow.  Somewhere along the way, another niece called requesting a ride along from Lansing.  Well, yeah!

[tweetthis]We arrived safely, just a little late, and happy to have the fresh conversations that only college students provide.[/tweetthis]

I took all our leftover Christmas candy to share, ready to turnover a new, healthier leaf, upon return.  Just to be sure I could boast a dramatic shift, I indulged in Wendy’s 4 for $4 both coming and going.

That egg white veggie omelet tasted so health, and so delicious, this morning.  Especially after swimming for a half hour!

Loved-One drove the whole way, maybe because I kept announcing what signs I’m unable to read with my right eye shut.
Anyways, on the plus side, all that time in the car, and a ball of yarn, netted a new hat before we arrived at our destination.

Here are a few things, in no particular order, for which I give thanks:

[icon name=”snowflake-o” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] Stuff You Should Know podcast and a battery operated Bluetooth speaker.  I learned all about jellyfish and combed jellies.  They are now my second most fascinating animal, right next to octopuses.

The first Monday

English: Bust of the god Janus, Vatican museum, .
English: Bust of the god Janus, Vatican museum, . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[tweetthis] of a new year is a great time to take a look back at the last year, pause, and look froward to what the New Year brings.[/tweetthis].  It’s been a rollercoaster back-end of 2016, with the Cubs World Series win almost obliterated by a political season that left be bewildered and bothered.

I’m blessed to be in a family where discourse is the common course, and disagreement opens minds, instead of fostering hate.

I had a great time watching the Cubs win, and sharing the victory with Mom, while hanging on the phone with Loved-One.  Technology can be so wonderful.  Yes, phones and TVs are old technology.  Still, I can remember when a long-distance call was for serious matters, and we listened to ball games on the radio (My science class gave up studying to listen to the Tigers, back in 7th grade.) Plus, I met a new Cleveland friend through a friendly wager.  Can’t wait to claim my tour of Cleveland winnings from Jena.)

A Ship of Pearl and The Fable of Little Tzurie are published and getting great reviews, and at the same time, helping the hungry and the homeless.

I made new friends through my Clown Car Geniuses, IWOC, and CWC.  All who help me grow, keep me grounded, and fill me with optimism.  I hope I do the same for them.

A new part-time job fell in my lap by just asking if I could help.  It may be temporary, and it may be more.  Time will tell.  In the meantime, I like this comment, “You bring a peacefulness to the office.

I have an incredibly healthy, intelligent, and for the most part, happy family.  I feel like their love provides a marvelous safety net and allows me to risk, to fail, and to try new things, because no matter what, I have people who will be there to pick me up, dust me off, and get me going again.

So now what?

Here's what the street looked like as the light festival began.
Here’s what the street looked like as the light festival began.

Last year around this time, [tweetthis]CoCo asked me to go into Chicago for the light festival. After much fussing and grumbling, I relented.[/tweetthis]  I hate the cold. And I’m not much into celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving.  We had such a good time.  Just the two of us.  It reminded me how easily CoCo disappears when the whole family gets together.  Heated political conversation; spirited memory exchanges, tongue-in-cheek jokes, all leave her in their wake.

So, this year, amid more grumbling, the two of us headed to the city once more.  Yes, it was indeed cold.  And yes, it was very windy.  Hot chocolate in one hand and a bag of Garetts popcorn in the other, and we made our way through the crowd, around Trump tower, and into a great viewing site right across from the Marriott.  Maybe next year we’ll invite a few more people and get a room facing the parade!  But then again, we’ll be beyond the two of us, which might spoil our tradition.

CoCo often goads me into doing something I really don’t want to do.  I am so thankful that she does.

In no particular order, here’s the a few of the things that make me realize how abundant my life truly is:

Yes, I’ve been down in the dumps about the Presidential election outcome.  And don’t forget Leonard Cohen’s death.  Oh my! It seems so long ago that the Cubs won the World Series.

Never before have I cried after an election.  Not so much that Trump is our President Elect, although, make no mistake, that does make me unhappy.  I am sad that a hard-working candidate, who dedicated her life to my country failed.

I am saddest that the maps show that our country is divided, in thought, and perhaps in deed, between what the rural communities want from national government, and what the urban communities think we need.

I [tweetthis]feel a great divide. I do not feel hopeless and I do not feel angry.[/tweetthis]  The after math of the election should teach both sides to listen.  Really listen.  I am thankful for the media statistics that point this out in great clarity.

Here are a few other things that give me reasons for gratitude:

  • safety-pin-1The Safety Pin Movement: a way to silently convey support for marginalized groups who may feel unsafe. Simply don a safety pin to show that they are offering a “safe” place.
  • A kindle giveaway winner.  @dreamaccomplished won the tweet for A BOOK OF PEARL a gentle story of love and home. Happy reading.
  • The One Million Woman March and a good friend who invited me to go along with her and someone who wants to go with me.
  • Scrivener software for writing my next novel.  my friend Dina told me about it.  If you are interested in becoming more efficient, I invite you to visit Dina.  She’s a whiz at outsourcing and gaining time for what you love to do most.
  • A successful first library book discussion and signing.
  • SWARM THEORY by Christine Rice.  Love, love, love this book set in the fictional town of New Canaan, Michigan.  I know it’s fiction, and at the same time, the story seems like it could take place in the town where I grew up. Such beautiful descriptions of the way people look and move and think.  No wonder it’s on the short list for CWA’s 2016 Book Awards.  Gook luck, Christine!