Pause, Breathe, and Take Stock #3

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:

  1. My daughter-in-law, Mrs. Wrestler #2 who showed Pneumo Pro: a terrific flute tool that promises to make my tone beautiful.  And not too very expensive.
  2. Good Samaritans. Yes, I fell down, high-tailing it back to the train station.  Now I know what it’s like to be a football player and go down because of a leg cramp. I also know what it feels like to be a little-old lady “who fell and can’t get up!” Two kind-hearted people stopped and waited until they knew I was okay.  Thank you!
  3. Photo printers that allow me to print just one picture for a frame.  I remember sending film for developing, waiting weeks, and some deep disappointment.  Now editing and printing is so easy.
  4. Group texting.  Oooooh, we had some doozies as we discussed the Hamilton casts plea for inclusion and the President-elects Twitter response.
  5. Good neighbors.  A small strip mall near me agreed to have a book-signing and fund-raiser for the local food pantry.  Yay!
  6. Warm coats.  Winter is indeed whistling at my backdoor, and I’m fortunate enough to be warm and dry.
  7. Circa paper in all sizes.  I forgot how useful these were while I researched A SHIP OF PEARL.  Now I’m researching the early 1950’s, doing some character sketches and scene descriptions for the sequel.  I especially like the smallest size that I can put into my pocket for a quick note. (e.g. perfectly straight teeth the slope toward the middle.) I’m noting physical traits, phrases, mannerisms, to make my characters come alive.  “Somebody’s watching you.”
  8. Yoga.  I feel so lean and lanky when I finish.
  9. Dan Klefstad from NPR’s WNIJ-FM, who led a NaNoWriMo discussion at the local library and agreed to review my book. And I got his book, SHEPHERD & THE PROFESSOR.
  10. Polite washroom lines in the train station, followed by an express train.
  11. Mr. C’s 6th birthday.  He took a tumble just before the party, so his lips a little swollen.  Look at the delight on his face.
  12. Another great review on Amazon.  This one from someone who grew up in rural Indiana.  Oh, my heart sings.

What’s on your gratitude list this week?  When you share, it makes me realize even more things for which to give thanks.