30 November 2011

Grace #45: Penultimate

November ends, a fickle month, a short month before the rest of the year slides to its end.

I like those things that come in next to last: the second to last line of a story, the second to last in line for food, the second to last to pass the finish line.

Seeing the end come makes its completion so much sweeter.


29 November 2011

Grace #44: A Good Day Is...

When traffic flows away from you.

When you see no body bags or feral dogs on the way to work.

When you teach and it all makes sense to you.

When it only rains while you are inside.

When your student shows her fortitude and powers through what needs to be done--with grace.

When you have enough soup to share.

When class ennervates you so much you can't fall asleep, your head is so full of ideas.

All these happened to me this day--what good happened to you?


28 November 2011

Grace #43: Surprise

Don't you just love it when people come through for you when you least expect it?

Reminds me there is more good powering the world than bad.


27 November 2011

Grace #42: The Most Beautiful

Rendition of "Over the Rainbow."

Makes me weep...

My son is playing the uke, we've been youtubing so many performances, but this... this reigns.

Rest in peace, Iz -- and thank you for this gift. Peace...

26 November 2011

Grace #41: Safe and Sound

We arrived home safe and sound, a mere 6.5 hours of driving, mostly easy. The children. Were. Perfect.


25 November 2011

Grace #40: Using my ponies...

One of the best things to do in Mansfield is to walk. My husband and I walked to the park, the school fields, the railroad station, down main street, through neighborhoods, to Fulton's Pond to see the water gushing over the damn and hear the geese squawk. Miles and miles and miles...


24 November 2011

Grace #39: Living Thanks

As I get older, every morning I wake feels like a gift. It is difficult, in the hustle and bustle of the day, to forget what each day brings: a chance to live. It is difficult to put aside the petty desires, the hurts, the annoyances, and just enjoy the instant. To Be.

Which is why I started this daily gratitude journal: bluetruedream. To keep me honest.

I am thankful for so much: my husband, my son and daughter, my parents and sister, nieces, nephews,other family, my friends. I give thanks for being raised by caring parents, for growing up knowing I was loved even if the words were rarely spoken.

I give thanks for having a job, for being able to ride the subway most days, for having the privilege of being a student again.

I am thankful for living in the United States, where I can live free, write free, speak free.

I give thanks for my gifts. And my flaws, for they make me strive to better myself.

And I give thanks to my students: I learn so much from them, about research and health and life, and courage.

Most of all, I give thanks for now. Not then, not tomorrow, but now.

What are you grateful for?


23 November 2011

Grace #38: Traffic

The say the day before Thanksgiving is the most traveled day. This morning, I woke to rain and expected a clogged highway to the airport, long lines through security, delayed flights. Instead, I arrived with enough time for coffee while I wrote on my novel, and the jet arrived thirty minutes early.


22 November 2011

Grace #37: Rain

Today I am thankful I have a roof to keep me dry, a car with good tires, and no place to get to in a hurry.

And my IKEA umbrella.


21 November 2011

Grace #36: When Night Falls

Sometimes nothing beats a king size bed, a good book, your mother's handmade quilt to keep you warm -- all for yourself.


20 November 2011

Grace #35: Absence makes the heart...

My husband, children, and cat left this morning in the thick dark of pre-dawn, headed to New England to visit his family. I will join them Wednesday -- too much work to leave early and join them on their adventure. Watching them drive away, I wanted to draw them back, give each another, deeper hug. Always, I worry -- suppose something happens? Suppose we never see each other again?

The necessity of separation, of not being with the ones you love in case, fills me, the mother, with a low-frequency anxiety. It makes me aware that living cradles the same cusp as dying, of 'bad things happening', and how important it is to grasp the now with hands and heart.


19 November 2011

Grace #34: Rest

I am grateful for Saturday mornings when my family sleeps a little longer, and I do, too.


18 November 2011

Grace #33: Bliss

My lower back aches much of the time. Part of this is due to age, the slow compression of my spine, but a part of my pain is due to lousy posture. At the recent church auction I purchased a zaful meditation pillow filled with buckwheat. My back sings its gratitude.

Take care of your physical shell as you get older.


17 November 2011

Grace #32: Body Electric

I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not me off until I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge
of the soul.

Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies
conceal themselves?

~Walt Whitman

16 November 2011

Grace #31: Wowza!

A month of graces. Not too shabby given my hectic life. But my hectic life has a lot to be grateful for. I am especially grateful to have the opportunity to post a gratitude a day.

969 more graces to go. Peace...

15 November 2011

Grace #30: Whew!

I didn't hit the black Labrador that ran in front of my car this morning.

Good enough gratitude for today. Peace...

14 November 2011

Grace #29: The Silicone Chip

I don't like Mondays. My college roomie and I used to belt out that Boomtown Rats classic every Monday on the steps of Lenoir Hall before making our way to organic chemistry.

The first day of the work week often takes some getting used to after a pleasant weekend. But this day all went well: the commute, the children back to school, a paper finished, a fiction accepted, warm chicken and orzo soup waiting for me on my return.

I hope today serves as a harbinger for the week. Peace...

13 November 2011

Grace #28: Friends

A couple of hours spent with friends at an Irish wine pub -- what could be more delicious? Not much. A sweet ending to a sweet week. Peace...

12 November 2011

Grace #27: Yoga Nidra

Today I experienced a tremendous gift -- yoga nidra, or conscious deep sleep. To float on the cusp of wakefulness while body, mind, heart are all at deep rest is an amazing sensation. After the session, I had more energy than I'd had all day.

The body's ability to restore and energize puts me in awe.


11 November 2011

Grace #26: Nine Lives

Our cat climbed a fence and we almost lost him. Dark fell too quickly, but all the shouting in the world would not help -- our cat is deaf. A heart-thumping hour later my daughter found him by the road, using a young maple as a scratching post. It was the best moment of the week.

Our pets become family. Peace...

10 November 2011

Grace #25: Poeming

My son wrote a slam poem, interweaving his love of music with positive feelings of joy and empowerment. A great poem, great meter and alliteration, very rhythmic, just like a pounding rock song. Best of all was his satisfaction of his creation, the quiet (and not so quiet) expression of being proud about the words he had wrought.

This is how self-esteem is made.


09 November 2011

Grace #24: Fog

Driving through backroads to Bethesda, fog lifted off the still reservoir, a massive ghost, rolled back to reveal forest tinged in ochre and gold, a mystery.


08 November 2011

Grace #23: What I Take for Granted

My home, safe, quiet, sturdy, clean. Driving through West Baltimore today, papers tumbled across desolate intersections, boards covered businesses, shattered panes filled window casements.


07 November 2011

Grace #22: Small Thing Number 1

The smallest things provide the greatest pleasures. Like: a perfectly drawn latte served in a ceramic cup, sipped while sitting by a window, sun streaming in. No newspaper, no laptop, no cell-phone, just me, the window, the coffee.

When is the last time you simply sat?


06 November 2011

Grace #21: Books

Nothing soothes my savage soul more than a great bookstore, and there is not many greater than Kramer's in DuPont Circle. Wanted to buy so many books, but restrained myself to one, a collection of shorts by Chuck Baxter. But oh, the possibilities...


05 November 2011

Grace #20: Space

Sometimes the best gift of all is an extra hour. It's a bit like finding a twenty dollar bill in last year's jacket pocket.


04 November 2011

Grace #19: TGIF

By the time Friday rolls around, my ears are sagging by my ankles. The weekend brings another kind of 'work' -- grocery shopping, cooking, catching up on bills, sewing up moth hols in my sweaters -- but it's the kind of work that recharges me for Monday.

And vice versa.


03 November 2011

Grace #18: YOU

"The things you want are always possible; it is just that the way to get them is not always apparent. The only real obstacle in your path to a fulfilling life is you, and that can be a considerable obstacle because you carry the baggage of insecurities and past experience."

~Les Brown

02 November 2011

Grace #17: Words Matter

Words matter. How we use them, how we deliver them, the tone behind them, or not. Word choice matters -- the difference between 'and' and 'but' can radically alter a conversation, a decision. With emails and cell phones and testing, words can come carelessly, casually. Words are potent and should be used with care, not as thoughtless weapons.

It is not the quantity but the quality of words spoken/written/read that count.


01 November 2011

Grace #16: Basho Poem

Barn's burnt down --
I can see the moon.

Mizuta Masahide, 17th c. poet