I almost never read the electronic updates I receive from Runners World.... I get the magazine in the mail every month, and find it much more satisfying to hold it in my hands and flip the pages. Much nicer than staring at the computer screen and scrolling down....
However, for some unexplainable reason, when the Runners World update landed in my inbox this morning, I opened it... clicked on some random links (and registered for a draw to win some yoga gear, and a new car!)... and then came across an article about stolen moments. I have of course since then deleted the e-mail, and cannot now find the article on their website... but, in essence it was a story about unexpected gifts. Little bits of time that turn out differently from the way in which you had planned or expected... snow days where you get to stay home with the kids and realize just how much you've been missing them; begrudgingly taking the dog out for a quick walk on a cold and blustery day, and having it turn into an awesome run that left you feeling exhilarated and excited to do it again...
And she finished her article with the following quote:
I love when joy is tucked into a corner of life like a note, and I unfold it.
Kristin Armstrong, Runners World
It's always there, isn't it? We just have to keep our eyes and minds open enough to recognize that note when we see it, and then to remember to unfold it...
This is something of a continuation of my post yesterday... about really getting into life, and taking your mind and your heart to new places. It reminds us to really see the world, to be aware of the beauty in every day life. And it takes us to those places where joy is tucked in like a little note.
so, i was just doing a little online catch-up with a long lost friend (aka, reading the blog of someone i used to work with 12 years ago... back in the days when i didn't read blogs or do e-mail and never would have imagined that this would become such an important part of my daily connection with friends)
anyway, his most recent post was a little something about climbing 60 or so feet up into a 100 foot cedar and how scary and exhilarating it was...
Just a reminder to try really different things and scare yourself a little bit. It will take your mind to new places and it’s awesome for the soul. All creative people (aka EVERYONE) should be seeking new adventures weekly.
i used to do this all the time. but over the last couple of years, the scary things i have engaged in have not been a little bit scary but a huge bit scary.... move to a new country, get married, try to find a job in a crashing economy, buy a house....
all good and important things. all worth doing. but taken all at once, and without my usual support of a close network of family and friends.... it has been at times overwhelming, and more than a little scary. (it should be said that i still have that network of family and friends, and i'm enormously grateful for them.... but they're not here, not even close).
and so i stopped doing exciting and a little bit scary things for a while. because it's not really fun or stimulating to scare yourself a little more when you're already paralyzed by fear.
except that it is.... because doing those things that scare you a little bit, but are exciting and stimulating and sometimes fun... they help you to put the big scary things into perspective.
so, i'm going to go back to scaring myself a little bit... because it is revitalising and replenishing and invigorating. and as Ty said... it's awesome for the soul.
a good friend of mine posted the following as her status update on Facebook this morning:
Third Monday in January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. So let's conquer that by thinking about what we are looking forward to in 2010! What's on your 'look forward to' list?
i immediately wondered who it was that had decided today was the most depressing day of the year ('cos i'm not feeling it, and anyway... who gets to decide these things????), so i did a tiny bit of research online and this is what i found... excerpted from an article called "The Most Depressing Day of the Year" at time.com.
Dr. Cliff Arnall, a researcher from Cardiff University, [determined] that the third Monday of the month (Jan. 21, this year) — a day he calls Blue Monday — will be our most depressing day of the year. Arnall bases his yearly prediction on a formula he developed, which factors in the weather, consumer debt from holiday spending and failed New Year's resolutions and arrives at that conclusion that we'll hit rock bottom on Monday the 21st.
clearly it is not the 21st today, so this must have been written some other year... but it is still the third Monday, and therefore we're supposed to be feeling blue.
as i said, i'm just not feeling it... it's a beautiful sunny day and i'm feeling pretty good. and i am looking forward to things....
things like: i'm looking forward to going to Nashville Tennessee for the first time, to run a marathon! looking forward to creating a garden and growing my own herbs & veggies:) looking forward to kayaking on the lake near our new house, looking forward to camping.... and looking forward to a visit from one of my Jasper girl friends in the fall. and maybe, just maybe... i might be looking forward to having a little bit more snow and winter before all these other things happen.
it was a rainy old day here... but soft. just enough to make the grass slippery. just enough that i had a hard time seeing through my glasses when i went out to get the mail. just enough that the birds were going nuts in the yard. a flame red cardinal.. sweet little grey things that i don't know what they are... a flashy blue jay...
so it was a good day to putter about. i cleaned some things. i cooked some things. i played plant doctor and did a little orchid surgery....
and when my sweetheart woke up we worked out together with our new dvd's that are so far totally kicking my butt. his butt too.... we're both hurting. but, in a good way.
and now, he's gone to work... i'm going to tidy up the kitchen and stretch out in front of a movie.
even though it was just a puttering about the house kind of day... it was a good one :)
and there ends 30 days of gratitude.... spread out over a month and a half because i had no internet for a while, and because i missed a few days here and there....
i might make it a long month... 31 days, just for a treat.
where HAVE i been?? as i said a few weeks ago... i'm not very good at this "blogging everyday" thing, but i've gotten much better about the "gratitude every day" part and really, that's the important bit.
so, lets see....
Friday i was feeling quite a lot better, and even took my bike out for a short ride.... the sun was shining and it felt like spring.
Saturday i got up early and went to meet the Team for a run... it was still cool, but much warmer than the last few weeks, and it was so nice to run and not be cold. heck, it was nice to run and not be totally snotty too!! was scheduled to run 8 miles, but had hardly moved all week.... so i was pretty happy with the fact that i managed 7...
then, went to see Avatar with my sweetheart and a couple friends in the afternoon. i don't know that i would rave about it the way some people i know are raving about it.... but i did enjoy it. i thought the special effects were fantastic, and the planet that they created was beautiful. but the storyline kind of reminded me of Ferngully.... look at what we are destroying, look at how all life is interconnected, the story of the "noble savage" who understands all this better than we greedy civilized folk.... not that i disagree in principle with the message, it just isn't anything particularly new.
then dinner with the same friends, home late, and a long sleep in this morning...
okay... so i kind of fell of the map for a couple of days. but they were rather unremarkable days of feeling sick... so it kind of would have been just a repeated mantra of "i'm grateful for orange juice and vitamin c..."
today was a much better sort of day... one with much more energy, and far less achey head and runny nose. one of sunshine and juice freshly made with our new juicer. one of sitting in a warm window and watching the birds that have suddenly and truly discovered our feeder (we even had woodpeckers! i didn't know woodpeckers had a fondness for seeds, but there you go...)
it was a day complete with yummy meals, and finally an appetite...
it was a day off for my sweetheart so we puttered about the house together.
i'm still a snot-factory (as my six year old nephew would say)... and feeling rather miserable.
but the sun was shining all afternoon, and i was watching the birds come and go from the yard. i think i'm going to have to find myself a "birds of Virginia" book of some sort so that i can tell what i'm looking at.
my sweetheart dragged me out of the house yesterday, ostensibly to get some air.... and whilst visiting the hardware store (!!! so glad i got out of bed for a visit to the hardware store!) we picked out some rather lovely sounding wind chimes. they're hanging out in the yard, just waiting for the wind to pick up. i'm going to enjoy listening to them... just hope they don't annoy the hell out of the neighbours.
so, the sun was shining and there were birds, and the potential for wind chimes.... and it was a good day, in spite of the abundance of snot in my head.
if the box didn't automatically fill itself in as whatever i wrote last time, i'd have no idea what day of gratitude i'm supposed to be on. all i know is that i didn't write yesterday, and with a head full of mucus and drugs, i'm not entirely sure what i'm grateful about at the moment...
orange juice, i suppose.
rosehip & hibiscus tea
kleenex with lotion for my poor sore nose
my husband, who forced me back into bed, and keeps yelling from the living room to ask if i want or need anything...
i miss my husband on the days that he works night shift. it's not so much at night when he's not home and i find myself waking up and feeling his absence (although there is that too)... i miss him more during the day. even though he's home, sleeping in the next room.
i think it is because when he gets home from night shift he's normally asleep on his feet... we chat for a few minutes, and then he goes to sleep and i don't see him again until i wake him up for dinner around 8pm... we have less than an hour together, much of which is taken up with showering and shaving and dressing and checking personal e-mails and phone messages that he can't access at work... and then he's gone again.
even though he's gone for the same amount of time when he works day shift, i feel as though i get more time with him.
he slept longer than usual yesterday, and stayed late at work this morning... but when he got home he stayed up for a while, chatting about his busy night, about plans for the weekend, about day to day stuff... sitting at opposite ends of the couch, legs tangled together....
hardly romantic... but it felt like such a treat to have that hour together.
the house is quiet now, he's sleeping... and i'm not missing him.
i rescued some enormous orchids from the Asian grocery store.... they were crowded together on a shelf, far from any natural light... tightly wound up in plastic sleeves, under a sign that said 50% off.
i know that stress can cause any plant to flower profusely... it's kind of a last ditch effort to produce offspring before their system fails, so to speak.
and these are flowering very profusely.
so i bought the two healthiest looking ones, and brought them home to see if a little TLC might pull them back from the brink.
the tips of the leaves were turning black... supposedly a sign that the soil has become too saline. so i flushed the pots thoroughly in fresh water. i cleaned off all the dead bits, and rinsed the leaves free of dust and residue.
they now look clean and fresh, and hopeful somehow.
i am hopeful.
and even if they don't survive... i think it would cost almost as much to simply purchase the same abundance of orchid flowers in a flower shop. so i will enjoy them while they last, and be grateful for their last hurrah.
i'll get to the gratitude eventually, so bear with me...
i wrote, back on the first day of gratitude, of finding some wonderful paintings at our local framing shop whilst taking a print in to be framed. my husband in particular was enamored of this artist, and purchased several... and then several more.
one of which we promptly had framed... the others we were keeping at the store until after our move, so that we could have them framed with a specific room in mind.
today, i made the drive back to Alexandria to the frame shop, to pick them up.... only to find the frame shop in ruins, burnt to the ground.
selfishly, i am deeply disappointed and sad that our beautiful artwork that we had so looked forward to putting on our walls is now gone.
then i think of the poor woman who owned the business.... how she must be feeling, what she has lost... and i just feel sick on her behalf.
and the people who had brought family treasures in to be repaired or reframed... treasures that will leave empty spaces on otherwise full walls... now lost.
i just feel sick about it all.
and in trying to find that fragment of gratitude in the day... i am so very grateful that the painting i loved the best is here with us now, safely framed and hanging beautifully on our wall.
i missed day #22... what else is new? i'm much better at writing first thing in the morning than waiting to see what all might happen in a day that i might be grateful for... because then evening comes and i go to bed, forgetting all about writing.
yesterday, we drove a fair distance to find an eco-store that sells ecologically sustainable and healthy beds. personally, i had hoped to find myself luxuriating in comfort on a tempurpedic bed in short order, because they're so damned comfy... but apparently they let off gases, and are made mostly from petroleum products... and my husband was keen to get something a little more wholesome.
so, we found this eco-store and ordered an enormously comfortable bed, made of latex and organic cotton and organic wool.... and it will be here in a week or so.
we spent the day today doing housey things.... doing laundry and dishes, putting up heavy drapes to block out the cold, testing out mattresses in our quest for a new bed, wandering through Ikea getting ideas about things we do and do not want in our home... picked up a few plants, including a glorious orchid which totally reminds me of my mother....
it's funny how sharing things can make them seem just a little more real and a little less of a dream, don't you think?
my friend Donna and i were volunteering for a Team In Training event together this morning, after which she dropped me off at home and came in to have a quick peek around the house... and it felt so great to be able to show it to her.
and then my friend Marni and i were chatting on Skype, and i was able to show her at least some of the rooms in the house by webcam.... again, it felt really nice to be able to share it with her.
it was a blustery cold morning to go out for a run with my Team In Training buddies.
rather hard to drag myself out of bed at 6am, in fact...
but there was a beautiful sunrise as i was driving in to DC. and we ran on trail i had never been on before, so i've found a new place to run (even though it's rather far away)... and after 5 miles and a handful of M&M's, getting back into the car to drive home felt wonderful.
hot shower felt even better...
and then, i was enormously grateful that i had arrived home in time to have a hot shower before the power went out for a few hours.
so i cozied up in a sunny spot, wrapped myself up in my down duvet, and read for a few hours until the power came back on.
in spite of being married for almost a year and a half... and in spite of being a couple for the last four New Year's Eves... this was our first New Year's Eve together. and we spent it blissfully at home.
drank some whiskey, ate some yummy food, shot some pool, listened to some music... i even got him to dance with me a little....
it was the perfect way to ring in the new year.
i love our new house. i love him. i love how happy this home makes him... and i am so very grateful for it all.