A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

Spring. April 19, 2011

Filed under: books and reading,family fun — courtsbrogno @ 5:42 pm

It’s starting to feel a lot like spring around here. The afternoons are getting a bit more warm, the sun isn’t fading until well past 7p.m., and my dinners seem to be including more fresh vegetables and less meat. While I love spring, I can’t help but feel that it’s just another season in the way of summer. I love the long days of summer, the days of no work and all play, of sandy toes and late dinners. I cannot wait…

But until then, I’m thankful for spring.

Because spring always ushers in the Sandecki brothers’ birthday. Born on the same day, 4 years a part, makes celebrating twice as fun. And since I could only jet out for a bit to share dinner, I was grateful that I got to see Chris, whom, surprisingly, I haven’t seen in a few years, and, of course, good ol’ Steve, whom I love almost as much as I love my kids (kind of because I feel like he is one of my kids). Oh, happy birthday Chris and Steve. I love watching you grow older, wiser, and just in general better.


Because Spring also means that the days are warm enough for Luke and I to walk downtown to pick Maddie up from school (and also because I’m not working Fridays). But this past Friday, Maddie had a half day and I was picking up Maddie and her friend Sadie–both girls have been riding their bikes to school on Mondays and Fridays–as it was my turn to walk behind them as they rode their bikes home (my bike’s getting a tune-up).

So Luke and I strolled to Maddie’s school where we waited and waited and then, realizing there were no other parents around, I figured out that Luke and I had arrived an hour early. I honestly don;’t know how I messed up the dismassal time since it’s ALWAYS THE EXACT SAME, but there you have it.

Luke and I ate lunch together and played near the creek before we walked back, got Maddie and Sadie, and then walked Sadie back to her house, and then got a ride home! I was sweating from having Luke on my back in the hot sun.  But the girls have so much fun riding their bikes to and from school that I guess that’s all that really matters.


Because this week the nation celebrated Record Store Day, and we celebrated as well. The kids and I met some friends and walked downtown to take part in the festivities. I love independent record stores. I’m not sure if my love stems from the sense of nostalgia I get when I walk into one, remembering a time when there was no easy internet way to download music and the many times I actually sang or hummed parts of a song to the poor guy behind the counter as he attempted to figure out what artist I was looking for. Or maybe it’s because an old love of mine worked at our local independent record store and he instilled a sense of respect that all independent music stores should receive. Perhaps it’s just because they’re the under-dog in a deal-conscious corporate America, where most of my students get all their music for free. They justify this by saying they’re not ripping off the artist, just the huge corporate record label. I say, who cares? You’re hurting the record store.

Which makes me think of the facebook status update where facebook users were asked to change their profile picture to one of an album cover that changed/influenced their life. I didn’t participate. Not because I won’t change my facebook profile picture (though, in fact, it’s never been changed), but because I couldn’t make a decision. What album influenced me the most? It could range from a Smiths album (my dark, angst-y teenage years) to a Sufjan Stevens album (my lighter, more mystical and spiritual years). I gave up thinking about this, but then the other night, I shot up in bed and with complete clarity knew what album changed my life, or at least influenced me the most.

(Oh hello, Wilco’s amazing album, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” I pick you. You are the greatest album ever and you got me through some particularity difficult life times while also supporting all those great life times. You are the sound track to my life and I’m glad I remembered you.)

So we went to our local record store. And the kids listened to music. And we watched someone make shirts. And the kids got stickers. And I ordered a CD. And then we all got ice-cream. And it was a good afternoon.


Spring means growing up a bit or at least being aware of all that grows. And Luke grew big time this week, as he walked the entire trail–2.5 miles–all by himself and for that, I am thankful (and my back is as well). Usually Luke makes it 1/4 of the way during any hike we take and then he’s up on my back, but this week, I chose to do a mellow, rather easy hike because my body was in agony and rejecting any activity that involved moving , all because I had subjected my poor, out-of-shape body to a yoga class Saturday morning and while it felt great–amazing even–the next day I realized just how out of shape I am. Terribly. But that’s OK, cause summer’s almost here and then I have all the time in the world for exercise (the problem is how to sustain this year round?)

Anyway, I chose an easy hike and Luke was so happy running along through the tall grasses that I don’t even think he noticed that he was doing all of the work.  The day seemed made for a hike. It was warm, we all wore shorts, and none of us felt rushed. The grass along the trail had grown over-head and yellow flowers caressed the tops of our heads. Luke bent his head to the right and let the cattails whisk by his cheek, laughing each time that it “tickled.” And when he finally asked to be carried, we were already 3/4 finished, so I just simply refused to carry him and he walked on, without even a whimper. When we finished (and we were slow. What’s normally an hour hike took us two), Luke threw his arms in the air and said, “I did it!” Maddie and I are so proud of him, and he’s pretty proud of himself, as he should be.


A few other things to be thankful for: finishing my taxes (Sunday night!) and not owing money to the feds (though I did owe a few hundred dollars to the state); reading a great book given to me by my secret book benefactor: Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng (what an incredible story); surviving an in-class evaluation despite my honest to God thought that I may just faint from fear; and finally running into an old student from 7 years ago who made my day by saying really, really nice things to me about how much he liked me and my class–I felt all sparkly after our conversation.


Spring is here, and I will try to be present–to put my energy in the now, to focus on the minute that it IS–which will be a complete challenge because my mind keeps wandering off to the near future, to summer, to a time of endless freedom (kind of a stretch, I know, but that’s how it feels right now).

But I will try.


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