Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Paper Purist

No downloaded paper for me!

Monday through Saturday it remains in a separated neatly piled stack in the upper left-hand corner of my kitchen island. But that all changes on Sunday when I ensconce myself on the couch and clear my mind's clutter for one of my favorite indulgences--one page turned at a time, savoring ink stained fingers and all.

Today I am grateful for:

*Digesting the Sunday paper cover to cover.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Muscle Motivator...

My personal trainer
When it comes to working out I've never done group (my lack of balance is one-enough-said reason!) unless it's hiking with my family.

To remain truly motivated, I've always gravitated towards activities that require that least amount of effort before I exert any myself.

Lace up a pair and hit the trail.

My natural surroundings provide all the motivation I need. Open space.The breathtaking Rockies. Even wildlife beyond the canine variety.

But in the winter months when that requires layering up in fleece, I opt out of the wind chill factor and head for the rec center.

Initially I struggled with the challenge to stay focused as my natural motivators were now artificial in nature--a trio of wall-mounted LCD screens; grunting outbursts from the over-muscled and the clanging of metal against metal. 

I needed to tune out all the distractions!

I briefly entertained investing in a personal trainer to stay driven, but decided I needed the commitment to come from within.

Thankfully, I have a nearly daily private session to get me through lap after lap and rep after rep.

Today I am grateful for:

*my 1st generation iPod--it's the best investment in a personal trainer I've ever made.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Seeing is Believing...

"A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are."
--Ara Parasheghian

My daughter's beaming smile speaks volumes. It's a smile she's been wearing ever since a coach took a chance on her and gave Hannah the opportunity to join swim team.

Months ago Hannah had never set foot on a diving block nor could she dive.  Streamline. Flip turns. Dolphin kicks. Psych sheets. IM's. She's also mastered an entirely new language and setting new challenges for herself.

All because of a coach who saw and believed.

Today I am grateful for:


For the daily, nightly and weekend sacrifices they make while being away from their own families.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Easier on the Eyes...

I consider myself lucky that middle age hasn't affected my eyesight yet. Even without the need for reading glasses, I prefer to enjoy one of my favorite indulgences super-sized.

Today I am grateful for:

*Large print books.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"The advantage of being eighty years old is that one has many people to love." ~ Jean Renoir

Nov. 1967; Westwood, CA

Today I am grateful for:

*Celebrating my dad's 80th birthday.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Aug. 1968; Westwood, CA

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Scoop of Nostalgia...

A Scoop of Perfection
Ah nostalgia. The yearning for the past. I associate many a past memory with food, specifically ice cream.

Growing up in Tustin, Calif., I frequented the Baskin-Robbins at the corner of Irvine Blvd. and Newport Ave. as much as I possibly could, especially during the summer months. Sure the square scoops across the street at Kresge's were cheaper (15 cents for one scoop; a quarter for two), but there was something unappealing about the way the pimple-faced server swiped-rather-than-rinsed the ice cream scoop across what appeared to be a moldy orange counter sponge.

Baskin-Robbins boasting its 31 flavors for every day of the month was my preference.

Chocolate. Vanilla. Strawberry. I didn't gravitate towards the standard popular flavors. My ice cream craving palette sought sophistication. Rocky Road.  Pink Bubblegum. German Chocolate Cake. My all-time-remains-to-this-day favorite is still Jamoca Almond Fudge. No need for the iconic pink spoon. Two scoops atop a sugar cone please.

Sweet savory perfectly delivered nostalgia one lick at a time.

Today I am grateful for:
*The surprise pint of nostalgia in the freezer!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Slow Saturday Start...

The alarm clock gets a rare reprieve today. Hubby has taken Hunter for one on one time. Hannah hosting a sleeping-in-late sleepover. Koufax content taking in sun-before-the-predicted-snow on the deck.

Today I am grateful for:

*A no-reason-to-rush-easy-does-it day.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Need I say more?!

Today I am grateful for:

*I survived the first week back after a 17-day school break!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Cup of Comfort....

Some people jumpstart their day with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Others rely on pop or energy drinks for a quicker jolt.

I prefer a milder, gentler approach in the form of black tea with honey and lemon just like my father enjoys or with a couple of sugar cubes.

A cup of comfort suits me perfectly. And it's a comfort to my wallet, which allows me 20 cups to a single Starbucks serving of brewed froth.

Today I am grateful for:

*Tea, especially my newly discovered favorite, orange bliss.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hit the Paws Button...

Ah the life of a dog. What could be better than engaging in play time, pausing for naps and partaking in a tasty treat only to start all over again?! Our four-legged friends remind us that it's acceptable to hit that paws button more often and relish what is easy to miss out on.

Today I am thankful for:

*Dogs, especially my own.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pondering the Dying Art of Letter Writing...

"Letters are expectation packaged in an envelope."--Shana Alexander, American Journalist

Yes email, Facebook, Twitter are quicker. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer the anticipation of opening my letter box (ok so it's actually a 25 yard walk to a cluster of metal bins)and hoping to find a treasure among the daily airline credit card offers and useless community coupons to establishments I'd never frequent much less ever heard of.

On rare occasions, I relish the arrival of a handwritten note, card or letter.

Today I am grateful for:

*Not one, but the arrival of two handwritten cards

Won't you take the time to pen your thoughts, affix a stamp and send your own treasure? I assure you the recipient will be grateful.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Simple Pleasures...

Sunday, the day before manic Monday when the madness begins all over again after a 17-day reprieve (not that I was counting) from dashing through the kiss-and-go lane, homework, after school activities, throwing dinner on the table, packing lunches...only to repeat and repeat and repeat!!!

So today I savored many a simple pleasure.

I am thankful for:

*Pajama day

*Reading the Sunday paper cover to cover

*2nd season premiere of Worst Cooks in America

*Polar fleece blankets

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Fresh Start...

I know the calendar says it's time to come off our post-holiday high of parties, presents and pounds and face the music in the name of New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I believe this annual, thinly disguised attempt to break bad habits and establish newer, healthier ones is doomed for failure.

We all strive to take better care of ourselves; be nicer, more tolerant people; vow to read New York Times bestseller books; take that trip we’ve been promising ourselves for years; but in reality, it never happens. So rather than share my previous resolutions I have yet to achieve, I resolve and propose we all take the time do perform the much simpler-easier-to-attain task of taking inventory of our lives on a daily basis. Giving thanks need not occur once a year in November.

After my first meningioma brain surgery I struggled with overwhelming feelings of depression often wondering how I would start life again. My childhood best friend suggested I keep a gratitude journal to focus on the "can dos" rather than the "can't dos" negative thinking I was consumed with. Initially I was skeptical about penning my thoughts on blank paper. I surprised myself when this regular act of taking just a few minutes or even longer on a regular basis created a shift in my thinking, not to mention the immensely huge difference it made in my healing and recovery.

To this day I still pull out that gratitude journal to remind myself that yes, I did make a fresh start and even if recording something as simple as "I walked around the cul-de-sac without any assistance" or "Sleeping through the night."

And so without any pressure (we all have enough daily demands in our life) I propose to share what I am thankful for over the course of 2011 and invite you to do the same. Ideally, it would be great to compile 365 days of gratitude, but hey I'm realistic that even the best intentions get sidetracked.

So here's to a fresh start beginning now.

I am thankful for:

*Ringing in the new year with board games, bad-for-you food & bed after the EST ball drop!

*Hannah & Hunter hugs

*Koufax is still managing well with diabetes and blindess and is determined to play ball every day!

*Snow--we finally got some!

*Home-made cinnamon rolls & chocolate truffles--the walking can wait!