Bittersweet Post-Election Gratitude. Gratitude Experiment: Day 84

I thought I would be so relieved when this election was over. Even more so if my candidate won. Instead I was disappointed.

Disappointed in humanity which my husband says I often give far too much credit in the first place.

My kids told me about some horrible comments their friends made on Facebook and in person about the election results.  Not just nasty, but some things I think that you could get arrested for saying as an adult.  Frankly, some of them outright disturbing.  And even more disturbing to think about the parents who might be teaching these kids that it is okay to say such comments about any elected official, or candidate or even regular person, no matter the political affiliation.

Many seem to work hard to teach their kids about sportsmanship on the playing field.  To high-five the other team whether you lose or win.  I remember the bridges of hands that the kids of my boys’ soccer teams would take turns walking through whether they lost or won. But why does that have to fly out the window in adulthood?

Today comments from both sides of the aisle made me uneasy. Isn’t part of what makes our country so great that we have diverse backgrounds, views and opinions?

I really just wanted to fast forward past today to a point in politics where it can be better.  Is that possible?  Am I just more tuned in this year than I have been in the past and expecting way too much?  These thoughts ran wildly through my mind today.

I pride myself in the fact that I teach my kids to not publicly bash a political official no matter how much they disagree with them.  And to appreciate differences in opinions and never belittle others for having opposing views. I also pride myself in that fact that we encourage our kids to form their own opinions and research and understand issues before taking a stance.  To not parrot our views because it makes us feel more secure. I am ever so grateful to watch them take heed as they grow into young men.

So,  I am grateful that today is coming to a close.  (And that I met a wonderful woman in the nail salon who could tell from my face that I was exhausted by this and other events of today, and who was so very kind.  What a serendipitous shot of hope and a beautiful remedy for my distress at the end of this long day.)

Most importantly, I’m grateful that tomorrow is going to be a better day. I can feel it.  Can you?

It is understanding that gives us an ability to have peace. When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint, and he understands ours, then we can sit down and work out our differences.
Harry S. Truman

New word of the day: Franchise (Your Right to Vote) Gratitude Challenge: Day 83

Word of the Day for Tuesday, November 6, 2012 (from

franchise \FRAN-chahyz\, noun:

1. The right to vote.

2. A privilege of a public nature conferred on an individual,group, or company by a government.

Examples of use:

One factor in the early mobilization of feminism was the 1832 Reform Act, through which women’s exclusion from the franchise was formalized.

     — Angélique Richardson, Chris Willis, The new woman in fiction and in fact: fin-de-siècle feminisms

The national referendum of 1963 reflected general support for the six-point reform program, which included land reform and the franchise for women.

    — Robin Morgan, Sisterhood Is Global: The International Women’s Movement Anthology –

Franchise derives from the Old French word for “freedom,” which shares a root with the English frank.

I’m grateful that I have learned this meaning of the word franchise.  Also to even have the right to vote.

For those of you in the U.S., please vote today if you haven’t already. (I apologize to those of you elsewhere for making this post America -focused.  Oh my gosh, did I just ‘apologize’ to ‘foreigners’?  Sorry, couldn’t resist, U.S. joke.)

Thanks for reading!

A picture worth a thousand words. Gratitude Experiment: Day 82

One of this week’s WordPress writing prompts was to write about a picture that is worth a thousand words.  I was supposed to write fiction about a photo posted along with this WordPress challenge.  But since I am more of a narrative nonfiction kind of gal, I decided to write about a real picture from my life that was worth a thousand words.

Taking care of my mother once a week this last year or so has given me the opportunity to pour through some great old photos. And this was one of them that made me laugh, and that represents a thousand words.

My mom’s very short-lived second marriage resulted in two step brothers whom I had no affection for, no matter how hard I tried.  One of them wet my favorite sleeping bag on numerous occasions and the other was just bratty.  (Of course this was my view of them at the time.  They ended up growing into quite nice young adults when I met them again many years later.)

This short-time stepdad wasn’t particularly fond of me.  Which made me not super fond of him.  He liked my older sister better.  I actually heard him say something like that one time to my mother when he didn’t know I was listening.  Sweeeeeet.  Way to make a kid feel AWESOME.  Quite the ego booster.  Clearly, we were tight.

Needless to say, on outings with these “step brothers”  who received the majority of the attention from their guilt-ridden father, I was often left to feel  like I was just along for the ride.  And I was damn fine to pout about it and make it quite clear how I felt.

To me, this picture says all of this without any words. I have never been one who is able to hide what I’m feeling, and this picture is more proof of this.  My horrible, pissed-off pout is classic.

As far as something to be grateful related to this…. hmm.  Let’s see, I’m grateful for the laugh that this photo gave me when I came across it.  And grateful that I am a little better able to hide my feelings now when necessary.  But I’m also grateful that I am secure enough to be a genuine, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person 99 percent of the time. I don’t leave many wondering what I’m thinking (read Open Kimono post:  Which means that I end up with friends who are also genuine.  And that makes life a heck of a lot easier.

Can you think of a picture of yours that is worth a thousand words?

Be the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are. Gratitude Experiment: Day 81

After traveling for a few days while my pups were at the kennel, I am truly grateful to have them back.

They melt my heart, make my bad days good, and are the most accepting creatures on this planet.  How lucky we are as humans to have animals as friends.

My favorite bumper sticker says:  Be the person your dog thinks you are.

I love this saying. How much better of a place would this planet be if this was how we all acted? Forgetting about all the junk  of life (and the politics this week) and all of the things that bother us …  and just being kind, grateful and loving?

Short and simple as this is, for these pups (Piper Cub and Tony Soprano), and for all they teach me, I am grateful.

What pets you are grateful for?

Praise for Patience. Gratitude Experiment: Day 79

Still traveling so this post is for yesterday…

Today I am grateful that sometimes taking the long view and having patience, despite how hard that is for me, can pay off.

Having the patience of a gnat (not so much), this is a good lesson for me. And I am going to work on developing more patience.

Some good things have come from this practice in patience as of late. And for that I am grateful.


Old friends. Gratitude Experiment: Day 77

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

My sides hurt earlier tonight from laughing with old friends. Old friends are hard to beat. And this quote sums it up perfectly.

All of my friends — every single one of them — make me feel like the richest person on earth just to be able to call them my friends. For all of them, I am forever grateful.


If I get one more political survey call… Gratitude Experiment: Day 77

Living in a household where an Independent resides – and in a swing state no less  – is making my phone ring off the wall. And it seems particularly unseemly given the devastation and loss being reported about Hurricane Sandy.  My heart goes out to all those affected by her wrath and the loss she has left in her wake.

As for the political calls, I’m somewhat of a political junkie, so I understand the reasoning and I play along much of the time. I try to speak up for my views as much as I can.

But this has gotten out of hand.  The robocalls are quite easy for me to hang up on. But as much as I grimace and tell myself I’m going to be curt when the next call rings, I still have a hard time being less than civil to the real humans who make those calls, even when it takes a moment for the clicks on the line to connect the call. I always think, What if it was me who was working that phone bank for minimum wage? That just sounds painful.  And then my sympathy gets the better of me.

This is unless they start spouting clearly one-sided, manipulative questions and tell me they are not affiliated with any party.  Don’t get me started.  They get really confused when you call them on it and the answer is not on their script, which I have to admit is a little fun. But I digress.

Tonight I have managed to be civil but brief to these callers.  I’m taking a deep breath and reminding myself that there are just a few more days of this. I am going to do my best to come out of the other side of this political cycle with both eyes in tact.

Godspeed to any of you living in a swing state with an Independent in the house.  I’m still grateful for my right to vote and for our right to have diverse views in our country.

More importantly, I’m grateful that my swing state hasn’t been affected by Hurricane Sandy.  And sad for all the loss and devastation that has taken place in the last several hours.

Goldilocks and Gratitude. Experiment: Day 76

One of  yesterday’s writing prompts was to write about a time when you had a Goldilocks experience – arriving at something that was “just right” after experiencing things that were too much of one thing or too little of another. My Goldilocks experience has to do with dating and men.

Back in college, I dated some good boys and some bad boys, always torn about which ones were the better fit.  The good boys were often cute, quite witty and polite. They made great grades and had their eye on the future.  But they were often boring and uptight.

During my bad boy phase, I was really fascinated with guys who had longer hair and who drove motorcycles — the total bad boy stereotype.  I was also fascinated by anyone who my parents didn’t approve of, because that made it all the more fun.  These bad boys were cute and definitely more fun, but often not super thoughtful or smart and usually far from ambitious. And I was sure that the lack of ambition thing and the not so smart thing would really wear on me after a certain period of time.

Luckily during my senior year of college I came across an anomaly.  A rare combination of bad boy and good boy all mixed into one human being.  Crazy smart and witty, handsome, romantic and thoughtful and  just the right amount of ambition.  And someone who could never bore me.  The fact that he didn’t have a sexist bone in his body was an extra bonus.

And fortunately, 21 years later, everything is still ‘just right.’  For this I am truly grateful.

Have you ever had a Goldilocks experience?

PS: Some really frightening images of sexy Goldilocks Halloween costumes came up when I searched for an image.  In case anyone is looking for costume ideas. 🙂

The Brothers Bloom. Gratitude Experiment: Day 75

For some reason my post yesterday didn’t actually get published until just now. And I just realized – thanks to Ambling & Rambling, that the countdown widget I added to my site told me I had 19 days left, when it was really 26. Duh. Yes, I am sometimes severely WordPress-challenged.  Still need ideas for my next challenge, but I have a little more time than I thought. So keep them coming!

Now, for today’s actual post…

I am grateful that today I got to see my sons hang out and laugh together like old times.

They are growing up far too quickly. And becoming a little too cool for our regular family goofiness. And as teenagers, they get on each other’s nerves a lot these days.

So when I see them laugh and hang out together like old times, it warms my heart. Today was one of those days and hearing their laughter made me smile. For this I am thankful.

PS: If you haven’t seen the movie The Brothers Bloom, rent it.  One of my favorites.

19 More Days. Gratitude Experiment: Day 74

Today I’m grateful that I have made it through almost 100 days without running out of things to be thankful for.

This exercise in positive thinking has made my glass more easily half full on a regular basis. This is a very good thing. And it has attracted good things.

Plus, the 100-day challenge to post something every day has been a genius way for me to force myself to write and post every single day. And I am truly enjoying it.

But with only 19 days until I hit the big 100, the pressure is mounting for another challenge that I shall proclaim to keep myself blogging.

I would like to keep the next challenge related to gratitude somehow because this has been a great experience and it seems to be easy to connect with.


PS:  How cool is the sunlight hitting the top of the tree in this photo? It was the other morning just as the sun was rising after our first somewhat substantial early snow.

Give me your thoughts on my next challenge…

Inspired by Grace. Gratitude Experiment: Day 73

Today I visited my friend’s son – who is also my friend – in the hospital. He is 14 with cerebral palsy and just had a very big surgery where a pump for medication was placed deep in his abdomen to help make him more comfortable and manage his pain.

Not only is this young man one of the sweetest and smartest kids I know, but he is also one of the bravest, a bona fide trooper.

And as for my friend — not only do I consider her a great confidant and ally, but  I am also continually moved by her incredible strength, beauty and grace.

It’s hard to explain, but watching them today, I was inspired. For this, and for my young friend’s healthy start on his road to recovery from his surgery, I am truly grateful.

Most precious thing lost. Gratitude Experiment: Day 72

One of the writing prompts on WordPress this week is to write about the most precious thing you’ve ever lost.

My most precious thing ever lost would be my sister’s stainless steel ID bracelet with her name on it.  I used to wear it a lot.   It was a way to keep her with me every day.

Its cantankerous clasp has been the culprit.  I have lost it on two different occasions, swearing that I would never see it again.  And probably wiping a tear as I proclaimed its disappearance.

Both times my heart sank and my stomach soured as I thought about how sad and angry with myself I was  for losing this precious bracelet. I felt like I had lost a part of her.

The first time I lost it was shortly after my sister died.  My heart raced as I backtracked and traced my footsteps and locations with angst. I probably had fifteen people on the look-out for it. They felt so sorry for me as they heard my voice tremble as I explained what I was looking for.  Everything was so fresh then. And thank goodness it was found after much searching. Only to lose it again years later.

The next time I lost it was only about four years ago when I realized I hadn’t seen it since we moved houses.  After much distress and drama and a month of searching, I found it again. Whew.

I am grateful that my “most precious thing lost” was found again – both times.   Now I am so paranoid that I might lose it again that I hardly ever wear it.  But I keep it where I can see it everyday.  That little bracelet makes me happy. And for that I am thankful as well.

What is the most precious thing you’ve ever lost?