Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Gratitude Project

"Gratitude Project (Join me! For the next 30 days, I am posting 3 things for which I am grateful, no matter how seemingly small or silly)."

This began as one of those Facebook status things - my friend Val invited others to join her for 30 days - I chose to participate in my framer’s forum (“the G”), and I have edited my posts a tad because they tended to get longer and longer as the days themselves began lengthening.

So here is my first entry, begun on December 10, 2009 -

Day 1:
1. Grateful to the G for allowing me to reach out from my hermitage to other like-minded souls.
2. Grateful to my step-family members for being so nice and so normal.
3. Grateful for my cats for keeping me warm at night and sane at all times.
Day 2:
1. Sunshine on clean new-fallen snow.
2. Blue skies after several gray days.
3. Naps - I love naps!
Day 3:
1. I am grateful to my friends on the G and on FB who have helped me throughout this awful day.
2. I am grateful for my wise veterinarian who knew enough to send Sidi home with me for the weekend instead of sending him to be alone and unloved under the harsh lights at the emergency clinic.
3. I am grateful to the 15 plus years that Sidi has been my companion and I am grateful for every extra minute we can share.
(Boy I sure know how to pick a time to start a gratitude project, don't I?)
Day 4
1. I am grateful for the balm of sleep.
2. I am grateful for my friends.
3. I am grateful that the red tailed hawk that I saw soloing yesterday is today flying over my trees with a mate.
Day 5
1. I am grateful to my wonderful friends from the G for "holding my hand" over the last 3 days....
2. I am grateful for three hungry kitties stamping around the house and demanding my attention (and their breakfast).
3. I am grateful for my blessed ability to sleep when I need to.
Day 6
1. I am grateful that my nice neighbor in the building put up a sign for my door when I knew I would be unable to leave Sidi's side on Saturday. I sent a PM to each of the two neighboring businesses thru FB and said, "whichever one of you sees this first please stick a sign on my door" and the recording studio guy did just that!
2. I am VERY grateful that we framers are helping our dear Á in her time of need. That makes me VERY happy!
3. Found a small bottle of eggnog grocery store tonight. Would not drink it every day of the year but once or twice a year it is positively YUMMY.
Day 7
1. I am grateful for the gift of music in this world - it is a balm for the soul.
2. I am grateful for even the small amount of work I have to do for the shop this year - it keeps my mind from casting off.
3. I am grateful for the jokes in the annual joke contest - keep 'em coming folks!
Day 8:
1. I am grateful to have met my friend's mom this evening and her mom thinks I am an inspiration. How cool is that?
2. I am grateful to have gotten the idea to surprise my step mom in her church this Sunday by not just giving the BOOK of my dad's sermons to the church library but to make the presentation a part of the service! Plotted with the pastor today. Tee hee.
3. I am grateful that I ran into Eric from the Delaware Camera who sent Magilla to me and thanked him for introducing me to such an amazing soul. And we lamented Magilla's passing and further spread the legend of the Great Lakes Surfers.
Day 9:
1. I am grateful to have a non leaking roof.
2. I am grateful to have heat and power.
3. I am grateful to have hot and cold running water.
Day 10:
1. I am grateful to have seen one of the amazing artworks done by Á.
2. I am grateful to have a great shoe repair guy - yay Jimmie!
3. I am grateful to have found a nice little black leather purse at Amvets for only $3.95.
Day 11:
1. I am grateful to have pulled off that great surprise for my step mom yesterday.
2. I am grateful that the Solstice is finally here so the daylight will begin to start lengthening.
3. I am grateful to have a last-minute order for some Christmas framing from my terrific local supplier (even though I left all of the paperwork at the shop and have to go to Buffalo on my day off to place the danged order!).
Day 12:
1. I am grateful the fact that I managed to get that last order in on time yesterday even though as it turns out the paperwork had been at home all along - I was pleased that I managed to re-create the order perfectly and did not miss one item!
2. I am grateful that one of my newer customers is now my friend on FB which will make it easier for him to tell his friends about my shop!
3. I am grateful that I have a huge collection of 2 liter pop bottles, old milk jugs and 5 gallon paint pails to stock up on water so the danged town can PLEASE turn off my water so my leaky line does not waste any more before I find someone to dig the thing up and repair it.
Day 13:
1. I am grateful that yesterday I had two customers leave nice jobs for next year.
2. I am grateful that I have a garage that never gets below freezing to put my little car into when it is 20 degrees like today.
3. I am grateful that I am pretty dang good at being a "water miser" and will continue some of these techniques even after the leak is fixed and the water is back on.
Day 14:
1. I am grateful that the backhoe guy has dug up my waterline and found the break right away (huge rock shifted on top of the line, ground heaved and rock split line).
(9:30 - GOT WATER!!!!) (YIPPEE!!)
2. I am grateful that the backhoe guy, since he is right here, is going to smooth out the biggest pothole in my driveway (worsened by the leak no doubt). (He even brought a bucket full of gravel!) (Yay!)
3. I am grateful that after doing the Christmas boojie tomorrow I have at least 2 days off in a row to sleep in!
Day 15:
1. I am grateful that the backhoe guy only cost $525 - I was afraid it was gonna be twice that!
2. I am grateful that there was a new customer with after-Christmas work awaiting me when I got to the shop yesterday. Yay!
3. I am grateful for the great night's sleep I had last night - conked out at 8pm!
Day 16:
1. I am grateful for those nice Johnny Depp pictures I find on the Gratitude Project thread - how delightfully appropriate!!!
2. I am grateful that I had a wonderful Christmas day with my step mom yesterday - great food which neither of us had to prepare and no dishes to wash! Plus lots of chocolate!
3. I am grateful that all three handlers of the visiting service dogs came for a Christmas wag-fest and I got to meet first Sandy the yellow lab with Christmas jingle bells around her collar and on sort of elastic garters above her elbows; then Lucy, another yellow lab who waited patiently with a dog treat on her paw until given the go ahead to snarf it up; and lastly the famous Wally, a jet black golden doodle who just looks like a big Muppet and who charms everyone in sight - my step mom had taken more pictures of him than any of her human family!
Day 17:
1. I am grateful to have taken so many hundreds of pictures of Sidi.  Blessed digital cameras!
2. I am grateful that my friends can cook and give me leftovers so I can eat something other than veggie burgers every once in a while.
3. This is silly but I am grateful for Vin Diesel movies - I really like him - he is the big bad guy with the heart of gold and a great grin. Watched a really awful SF movie (“Pitch Black”) last night - silly but he was the bad-guy turned hero.
Day 18:
1. I am grateful to be in a nice warm house with my car tucked into the garage to thaw out while a Lake Effect snowstorm is dying down outside leaving over a half a foot of heavy snow.
2. I am grateful to have squirreled away an "emergency" supply of Milky Way Dark bars and Promax Double Fudge Brownie energy bars.
3. I am grateful that, if need be, I am within walking distance of the big cheap supermarket and I have a gift card from my oldest BFF.
Day 19:
1. I am grateful for that much-needed 12 hours of sleep!
2. I am grateful that both my driveway got plowed and also the sidewalk in front of my shop!
3. I am grateful for NPR and PBS and CBC.
Day 20:
1. I am grateful that I found my little spiral notebook which contained all of my lists! It was lost for a month and I was lost when it was lost! I was listless!
2. I am grateful that my mailman told me my headlights were on yesterday morning - he has been on a different schedule for the last six months and my mail is already delivered when I arrive at the shop but yesterday I got there five minutes before he did and he saved me from a dead battery!
3. I am grateful that 2009 is almost finished with - it has been an awful year on so many levels but I hold great hope for the bright promise of a fresh year - welcome 2010!
Day 21:
1. I am grateful for the fact that 2009 is HISTORY! Although a few wonderful things happened (like the trials, tribulations and eventual triumph of the Sermon Book, meeting Magilla and learning how to write Á’s name properly!) - the year pretty much sucked big time.
2. I am grateful for the customer who came in to pick up her next installment of frames and paid me the balance.
3. I am grateful that most people thought I was closed this week so I got a LOT of fussy little messy time-consuming projects done, including nailing a wicked-awesome dry brush technique for a refinishing job on a frame from the fifties!
Day 22:
1. I am grateful for my friends. And the fact that other people spring for long-distance phone calls (I am too cheap for such frivolity) - had a long chat with a dear friend in Florida and a long chat with Sidi's First Mother Marcia (he was born in her bedroom in the 150 year old farmhouse in Ithaca NY).
2. I am grateful that I remember to clean out my cupboards and fridge once in a while - talk about science projects! Found an opened box of what were too-mushy lady finger cookies (used to love them until I discovered the trans fat content!) that had turned to clumpy brown powder. And a nearby ant trap had mysteriously filled up with the same brown powder. Ugh.
3. I am grateful that one by one, a little at a time, my remaining kitties are regaining their autonomy - they seem to be looking over their collective little furry shoulders less and less in fear of Boss Sidi's return.
Day 23:
1. I am grateful that within the next few months, some of the weight of worry will be lifted off of Á’s shoulders.
2. I am grateful that my dad fell in love with a wonderful woman after my mom died and that I have a lovely step family. If not for them I would have never met Sidi! Plus they give good presents - kitty treats for the catkins and money and chocolate for me! Yay!
3. I am grateful to arrive home safe and sound this evening since it was slippery and snowy and I had to drive on the interstate. Huge sigh of relief!
Day 24:
1. I am grateful for the delicious chocolate bestowed upon me in vast quantities this holiday.
2. I am grateful that I found another old friend on FB - probably haven't seen him in 30 years and now he has a son who looks just like he did way back when! Stirring up a lot of old memories of good times and much silliness.
3. I am grateful that I did not have to travel at all today - just northeast of me (where I was yesterday) they got over a foot of snow! I got home just in time. Fat fluffy flakes are pretty but they add up fast!
Day 25:
1. I am grateful that my driveway fairy got me all plowed out this morning.
2. I am grateful that when I was forced into Canadian Tire to buy a few necessities of life I had a GIFT CARD to use and now I have 3 or 4 years worth of garbage bags, 3 lovely spongey scrubbies, -35C washer fluid, a brand new roll of Duct Tape and a jug of CLR for septic systems and I still have money left on the card! Yay! Happy Christmas to me!
3. I am grateful for the Benjamin Moore paint store which had one last 8 oz. jar of the best metallic gold latex paint in the world! Whew!
Day 26:
1. I am grateful for the aroma of old hide glue and shellac that instantly transported me back 40 years to the upstairs workshop (644 William Street) of Kramer the Framer. Where my uncle Bob used to restore oil paintings and Bruno (his real name!) used to leaf and finish lengths of mouldings.....
2. I am grateful for the cool old retired decorator guy who came in the shop today trying to sell me 4 vintage watercolors of koi who ended up picking out frames and at least  getting an estimate from me. I must be on some “cool old guy” radar.
3. I am grateful that I finally found where I stashed Sidi's whisker that fell out at the vet's office after he had his stroke - I was disconsolate that I has lost it and now it is found! (And I know it is the correct whisker because I apparently taped it into his notebook and then forgot that I had done that!).
Day 27:
1. I am grateful that I took advantage of the opportunity many years ago to attend one of Vivian Kistler’s seminars. Gonna miss that lady for sure!  Rest in peace, Vivian.
2. I am grateful that new business is coming in the door - but why does everything have to be so danged HUGE?
3. I am grateful for the two lovely ripe bananas brought to me by a friend today. Not too green, not too brown. Just perfectly delicious.
Day 28:
1. I am grateful that those two 40x60 frames are out of my shop finally - now I can make some room for the next oversize job!
2. I am grateful for my garage despite the fact that the second lock will now only open from the inside so I have to go in the back door and troop all through the house with wet boots to open the thing from the inside and bring the car inside so she can keep warm.
3..I am grateful for my crock-pot - it makes the cooking of the cat's grain (Bulgur Wheat or Polenta) ever so much easier! Even though I have not quite got the hang of cooking the Polenta - LOL!
Day 29:
1. I am grateful that I have such fun refinishing frames - I was jumping around and hooting today - WOOT!  I love being able to match colors! Damn I'm good!
2. I am grateful for my weekly Friday night nap when I get home from work and after supper. Zzzzzz.
3. I am grateful that at least if the temperature has not been above freezing for a week or more at least the snow is light and fluffy and easy to clear from the front of the shop. If the sun would peek through for a bit things would be very photogenic.
Day 30:
1. I am grateful for finally finishing the eagle mirror today in time for dealer to load it with the best of his wares for the upcoming Cathedral Antique Show in Atlanta. (Wish I had charged him a bit more but what the heck....)
2. I am grateful that by shutting down and restarting my computer just now I was able to stave off an "attack of the tabs" where everything went crazy and even the System Restore would not work. Whew.
3. I am grateful (heck, beyond grateful!) to hear a faint positive note in dear Á's "voice" again.  Whew!

I am really glad that I participated in this Gratitude Project.  I found it a fascinating exercise all around - although some days it proved quite difficult to find anything for which I was grateful.  

I would, however, be afraid to do it again - two days after I posted gratitude towards my cats, Sidi had a stroke and died the next day.  The day after I posted gratitude for hot and cold running water - the water line busted.  I posted gratitude towards the annual joke contest and the next day there was a “dust-up” and the thread was locked down.  I guess there will always be things that make you go “Hmmm….”