The results are in. Gratitude Experiment: Day 100

Holy moly this is my 100th post, the end of my 100-day gratitude experiment! I’m a day late posting due to travel, but I’m again back in the saddle with my red furry muse by my side.

Thanks so much for accompanying me on this journey of gratitude. There is absolutely no doubt that more purposeful daily gratitude has made a profound difference in my life.

These past 100 days have undoubtedly made me more aware of my own energy and observant of the energy and environment around me. It is hard to explain how good that feels. So much so that I know that I must continue to make it part of my writing.

This journey has also helped me learn about the blogosphere and the world of possibilities for my writing. Outlines are in the works for ebooks related to gratitude and Alzheimer’s support. The possibilities are endless. The trick is narrowing them down and prioritizing. What a great problem to have.

My blogging is now part of me and it will definitely continue. As will my practice of disciplined gratitude which has truly helped me begin to center my mind. But there is still much more for me to learn and more centering to do.

I’ve learned that a challenge proclamation is certainly the best way to tame the procrastination beast within me. So the question remains what will the next challenge be? I will proclaim it by week’s end.

In the meantime I close with this quote from Buddha which sums up my thoughts quite well at this moment. Thank you again for continuing to follow me on this journey!

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.

Being Grateful – Old School. Gratitude Experiment: Day 97.

Today I’m grateful to have learned about a music group that makes me smile from one of my favorite blogs, free penny press.

I’m reposting her post here about  a young trio of sibling musicians from London who create wonderful, bluesy old-school music using no computers or digital equipment.  Novel concept these days. They are darling old souls, and cool as all get-out.  If you watch the video, wait for the part where they are filming in the country – brilliant.

Check it out:


Kitty, Daisy & Lewis

In the world of music, most singers depend on recording studios magical touches to add a bit of sparkle to their recordings. Enter a trio of siblings from London, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis who are kicking it back to the old school style of recording and performing.
The trio records in their home studio which consists of antique recording equipment such as 8-track tape machines and vintage BBC and RCA microphones. Kitty, Daisy, and Lewis do not use computers or any digital format during the recording process. As an added plus, they sell their music not only on CD’s but also LP’s and 78 RPM’s.

I’ve never been a big fan of Rockabilly music, but these young singers have converted me. They also sing Blues, Swing, Country and R&B among other styles. If I shut my eyes and just listen to them, I would swear it was the 60′s and I was at an outdoor country fair.

Here is a great sample of their musical style:

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis have gained popularity since first performing less than a decade ago.
Their shows are always to packed, sell out crowds and it’s no wonder. People want authenticity and these three certainly deliver that to the masses.

For more information they can be found @ Kitty, Daisy & Lewis (here on Word Press I might add)

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Cursing the Argentine Pie. Gratitude Experiment: Day 94

This post is from yesterday and it would have been posted yesterday had it not been for Argentine Corn Pie.

Lest I bore you with details, here are the cliffnotes:

1. Themed dinner party – Argentina theme

2. Each couple brings a dish – I chose “veggie/side” option to bring

3. Google search led me to Argentine Corn Pie – sounded easy enough, two pies should be perfect

4. I was sorely mistaken

5. Spent most of the afternoon (thank goodness I started early) working on these damn pies

6. I do not like to cook for good reason – usually doesn’t end well (see past post:  Not sure any bitch can cook)

7. First one came out like a charm, second one did not set-up correctly (even though I swear I prepared it exactly the same way) – ceremoniously buried it in my kitchen trash

8. MacGyver ran to the store for me and I made another pie at the last minute

9. Looked iffy but I took it anyway

10. That pie ended up in the kitchen trash of our hostess – we shared the one that turned out beautifully and there was enough alcohol that no one noticed a shortage of Argentine Corn Pie

In closing, I lost almost four hours of my life to Argentine Corn Pie. Lesson learned – next time stick with dessert, buy it at the bakery and fashion a miniature Argentina flag to stick in the middle of it. Done.

I’m grateful that I didn’t let this futile exercise in cooking affect my evening and we had a wonderful time. With age comes great wisdom to not take anything too seriously.

What’s your worst cooking disaster?

My Own Little Red Riding Hood. Gratitude: Day 91

I saw her as she started to get out of the car today at the end of my sidewalk. In her little red hooded coat. Mom was more hesitant than usual today, but I got her to come with me —  out of the car, up the walk and into the house.  She even giggled a few times as I did my best Three Stooges silliness to make her laugh.

Today was my Wednesday with Mom day, when my stepdad drops her off to spend time with me while he goes to his doctor appointment.

As I took her little red jacket off once we were in the house, I felt the circle of life rounding up to a near completion.  As if I was my mother taking a coat off of me when I was little.  But instead, it was me taking her coat off as she looked at me quizzically, wondering what I was doing as I gently removed her coat.  I ushered her to a seat at my kitchen table with magazines for her to shuffle like she seems to enjoy.  I even made her a sandwich and thought about how she used to make me a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich each day after school with a glass of milk in a jelly jar glass.

Her Alzheimer’s continues to progress and she hardly speaks.  But she is happy and I can still make her smile.  For that I am grateful.  I dread the day when I can no longer make her smile, but I try not to focus on that.

The little red coat she wears was given to me on Christmas when I was almost 16, by my Dad and stepmom.  I always loved that Woolrich coat and it matched my first car — it was a clue that Christmas that I had a red present that might be in the driveway.  (It’s actually the same coat that I was wearing in the photo from my post ” letter to my 14-year-old self .”  And I’m pretty sure that picture was  taken that same night as my sister and I celebrated Christmas with my Dad and stepmom.)

Mom always liked this coat too, and as I grew out of it, her petite frame was still able to wear it, so she adopted it. And because she has always taken perfect care of everything,  today it still looks just as new as it did years ago.  It has a plaid lining and hood, and sometimes my Mom wears the little hood when we go out.  Like my own little red riding hood.

Today I am grateful that I am able to spend time with my Mom in her little red coat on Wednesdays.  The days are a bit long, sometimes zapping my energy from the emotions of it all, but I am glad I can spend time with her.

What are you grateful for today?

New mantra for the moment. Forgiveness is half the battle. Gratitude Experiment: Day 89

I thought about not posting today.  About beating myself up for not exercising and posting twice as much tomorrow.

But I’m all about honesty.  And in my mind, what good is my blog if I’m not honest.

So, today I did not exercise. Certainly not in the sense of the planned out, well-executed 30 minutes of physical activity.

But I’m not sure if I sat down all day.

Lots of driving to and from today… and worrying in between.

To far-off emissions testing facilities– for my son’s car so that we can tag it– only to realize that they too are government offices and closed on Veteran’s Day. Lovely.

Answering work emails from my phone and crossing my fingers for a lack of typos. And making appointments for my Mom.

Lots of working on help for my oldest son who continues his battles with teenage life and angst. And driving him to and fro various appointments.

And his brother, the ever so patient one, to and fro his own activities and appointments, hoping his patience holds out.

Only to return late in the day, wiped. But grateful to be able embrace forgiveness of myself for not exercising, for not perfecting this whole life thing, and for just being.  And breathing.  And realizing that breathing is good.  Damn good.

What do you forgive yourself for?

Mantra. Gratitude Experiment: Day 88

 One of the blogs that I follow had a post a few weeks ago that asked readers about their personal mantra.

I’m the type of person that has quite a few mantras and favorite quotes, but I would say that I have one main mantra.  I started feeling very strongly about this one after I lost a few people dear to me within a few years and realized just how fleeting life could be:

Life is far too short to spend too much time doing things that don’t make you happy or being with people who don’t make you feel good.

That’s my deep thought for the day.

What’s your mantra?

P.S.: I walked around downtown this afternoon with a friend for 30 minutes for my exercise.  It was after brunch and mimosas, but let’s not let that spoil it.  My body was moving, after all.

Today, I’m grateful that my personal mantra has helped me realign my priorities a few times so far during my life, and that I have working feet and am able to walk without pain.  Something I certainly take for granted on a regular basis.

Changing My Barnacle Ways. Gratitude Experiment: Day 86

Before I moved to Colorado, three friends from my early career days of my advertising/pr world and I met once a month at a greasy diner to dish industry gossip and give each other grief. We did this for about five or six years religiously until I set sail for the Rockies.

As our meetings became regular, we decided to name our group, making it easier to reference. “Club Net” was the decided name, since many of us kept time sheets at work where we had to account for our time, and ‘networking’ or “Club Net” sounded way more official than ‘slacker late lunch with friends.’

We did kitschy white elephant gift exchanges each holiday season and papered our little greasy diner corner booth with ridiculous pictures and signs for each other’s birthdays. One year I got a vintage Weinermobile toy and another year a ‘vintage’ cowboy boot coffee cup, on display near my desk as I type.

We were all writers by trade and, as such, we would often email around new “words of the day” when someone came across a new word. When words were distributed, each of us had to use it in Club Net related sentence. (Yes, we were easily amused and severely sarcastic which is a dangerous combo.)

We each ended up with group nicknames that we still use to this day. Hydro became the nickname for my friend who eats like a bird and drinks copious amounts of water (in a greasy diner no less), Maladjusted Mel for my friend who is maladjusted enough for the name to perfectly fit, and Big Billy for my other friend with my shared affection for grease and whose car had a license plate frame from a Big Billy car dealership. I also affectionately called him my “Twin Stomach.”

In the early days while my name was being determined, the word sedentary came up during one of our word exercises.  Because of my well-known lack of affection for exercise, one of my Club Netters used the word in a sarcastic sentence describing  yours truly.

Horrified and amused, and later back at my desk (clearly working hard), I looked up the actual meaning of sedentary and this came up as one of the definitions:

Sedentary: pertaining to animals that move about little or are permanently attached to something, as a barnacle.

After I brought this to my group’s attention, it was official.  Barnacle would be my Club Net name.  I still close much of my correspondence with these colleagues with my “Barnacle” pen name, almost fifteen years later.

However now it has come to my attention that times (and my metabolism) have changed and middle age is upon me. So I’ve decided it’s time to change my Barnacle ways.  To shake my barnacle-self loose from the shackles of stillness that bind it.

So when one of my Yodas (see WWYD post) suggested that my new blog challenge involve exercise, it was the perfect idea.  If I can make myself write each day by publicly proclaiming a challenge, then perhaps I can make myself exercise?  And exercise ties-in perfectly with my extended gratitude experiment.  I will be able to measure the effect of exercise on my positive gratitude attitude. And perhaps fit back into my skinny jeans at some point as a bonus.

So, for these last fourteen days of my 100 Day Gratitude Challenge, I will exercise each day for a minimum of 30 minutes.  And I will have to incorporate what type of exercise I do into my posts, so that I will be held accountable.

If this is successful, I will make it part of my new Blog Challenge, which begins on November 16. If it’s not successful, you won’t hear anything more about it because I’ll act like it never happened. 🙂

However, I’m hoping this will help me jump-start the barnacle moving process, for which I found these tips online:

 Tips and Advice for removing barnacles:

  • The more often you clean barnacles, the less difficult the job will be.
  • If the removal task is too daunting, there are professional services that will remove the barnacles for you. However, the process is time consuming and can be costly if there are many barnacles and/or the boat is large.  (I’m thinking ‘boat’ here could apply to my arse.)

Wish me luck and join in if you’d like. Tis the season for overeating, so the timing is right.  I’m sure many of you already exercise regularly as most adult humans do.

But if you don’t, feel free to publicly proclaim you own starter-14-day-exercise-challenge in a comment below and then take note as you watch it affect your attitude.  It’s only 14 days after all. Barnacle history begins now.

Letter to my 14-Year-Old Self. Gratitude Experiment: Day 85

This week a writing prompt caught my attention, so here goes:

Dear 14-year-old-me,

There are so many things I want to tell you.  I’m not sure where to start.

First off, I think you should start writing in a journal. Quit fighting it. It is part of who you are. Get a journal and just write in it. You’ll be glad later.

Also, as much as your sister bugs you sometimes, please realize how wonderful and brilliant she is and how lucky you are to have her.  She is more a part of you than anyone else ever will be. Soak up every single minute of her.  Do not, I repeat, do not, fight over stupid things. Life is ever so fleeting, so keep this in the back of your mind.

As for your parents, you will not have them around forever either. You need to cut them a little slack. I know you are a teenager, and a ‘feeler’ and all, but you are awfully dramatic.  You’ll realize later that parenting is no cake walk, trust me.

Your Mom is a bit fragile and needs you to be easy on her; she is doing the best that she can. She will teach you many things about life and you will be glad that she did. Try not to get annoyed with her and realize that everyone is in charge of their own happiness.

And your Dad, even though you don’t realize it now, is really a big softie under that tough-as-nails exterior.  He’s just afraid to show it.  He too is brilliant, like your sister was.  He will take you to wonderful places and you will learn great things from him, so stop fighting it and take it all in.  He loves you a lot and you are way more like him than you realize.

Even your stepdad, cut him some slack too.  I know it’s not fun right now, but trust me, he’s going to blow you away with his strength, grace and love for your mother later in life.  He’s still a work in progress, as are we all.  I know you also don’t realize what a blessing it is that you have your stepmom in your life.  She will be there to take care of us all in our darkest hours, and she has a very sweet place for you tucked away in her heart. She too will teach you many things in life.

I know this is getting heavy, so bear with me.  Know that you are already blessed with a few friends who you will have for life.  You don’t understand how rare or fortunate this is.  Take good care of them and don’t blow them off too much to be with your boyfriend.  They will have your back more times than you can ever imagine and they will be your sisters.  Plus, in not too many years down the road, you are going to meet your soul mate, so don’t sweat the boy stuff.

And before I forget, please don’t worry or obsess about how you look or what size jeans you wear – ever.  Trust me, you will have ups and downs all along the way and it really doesn’t matter.  Plus, I promise you’ll look back one day and wonder why in the world you ever criticized the way you looked (except for your blue eye shadow – you seriously need to go easy on that this next few years).

Be sure to step back every once in a while and realize how good you have it. Try not to complain and realize that it’s all relative (you will probably say that a lot in your life).  Find a way to start giving of yourself to help others not as fortunate, so that you can make it a habit for life and keep perspective.  You have some service in your heart and you will find that it energizes you.

Lastly, realize that how you look at things affects everything in your life. And that hurdles and challenges in life are the bricks that build us.  You can do anything and handle anything thrown your way.  You have no earthly idea how strong and passionate you are.  Just remember to leave your ego at the curb every once in a while.

I think that’s it for now, my friend.  I’m grateful that I was able to reflect on these things for you. Godspeed.

Yours truly,

Older Self

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.