A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

So, yeah, I’ve been pretty busy March 23, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtsbrogno @ 9:21 am

It’s the end of the university quarter and my work has been piling up. I wish I could say that I was on some exotic vacation or had been seeing lots of live music, but sadly, most of my time has been devoted to grading and parenting.

So, once again, instead of knocking out my gratitude day by day, I’m just going to do categories.

  1. Maddie turned 18

I don’t even know how this happened. Everything went so fast. I remember thinking when she was maybe 3 or 4 that I couldn’t wait until she’d be able to take care of herself, and MY GOD, that’s happened in the blink of an eye.Just for giggles, I found some old pictures of me and Maddie when she was younger as I was looking for photos for her senior yearbook, and I just have to share, because how was I ever that young and how was Maddie ever that tiny?.

The first picture is with my best friend’s daughter Corinne who is now 25 years old! That’s just crazy. Looking at these old pictures made me so nostalgic for those simpler days–one kid, young and hopeful, happy with starting my career. Not to say that I’m old and hateful now, just a tad bit less hopeful and yes, older.

But anyway, Maddie has made it to 18 without getting pregnant, running away, being hooked on heroin, or being sent to jail. She’s even going to a top college in the fall. I feel like my work is done.

maddie bday

Newborn to 18 year old

Ha! If only that were true because it seems the real hard work starts now. Parenting takes on a whole new definition now. I have to let Maddie go and find her own ways through life and stay far, far back on the sidelines, watching–not even really coaching anymore. And that’s kind of tough for me. I want to jump in everyday and say things like “too much make-up!” or “find a new boyfriend!” or “did you seriously get your belly button pierced???” But I don’t. I hold my tongue, stand in the corner, and cheer her on despite any reservations I might have. Of course she still needs me, but it’s definitely on a more limited basis. And that’s okay. She’s a great young adult and I’m excited to see her future unfold.

For her birthday, we went to our usual sushi restaurant (our 18th year there for Maddie’s birthday) and then went back to my parent’s house for cake. Her present from me was supposed to be a weekend in Big Sur with her friends (and me), but Big Sur is blocked off from the north and south due to the storms we’ve had, so that is on the back burner. And let me tell you: never have I needed/wanted to go to Big Sur so badly as I do lately and I can’t get there. It’s horrible.

2. I turned 41. Ugh. I decided to do something low key for my birthday, so I just invited some friends to go on a hike with me (we hiked the 41 in honor of turning 41) and Maddie and her friends came and Luke was there too, and it was easily a 5 mile hike and none of the kids complained. And when we got to the top, we had wine, and cheese, and bread, and lots of goodies. It was a great birthday!

My favorite gift came from my mom (no big surprise, I told her I wanted this) and it is THE BEST coffee table, pick-up-at-any-time-and-turn-to-a-page book ever:


3. Maddie’s dumb dog is finally getting trained. Every Thursday night, Maddie takes Oliver to dog training classes and it seems to be helping. I swear to God though that this dog is a crazed puppy and if he weren’t so damn cute, I’d have sent him packing months ago.

dog training

4. Luke had his very first play date with a friend–his best friend Violet–at our house and I was happier than I think he was. Because Luke has ADHD, it’s been really difficult for him to make friends, but this year, he’s blossomed and has a best friend! And Violet is great. I loved having her at the house and watching Luke and her play.

5. What’s the one thing I do not need more of, but will always buy? That’s right. Books. And the friends of the library were having a book sale and I went and got all these books for $9 (they literally measure your stack and it’s $1 per inch):


6. I had my book club and that was super fun.

book club

7. I got to take a few hours to myself and go see my lovely friend Leslie read some poems and then watch other talented poets and end the evening with a book reading (yes, I bought the book).


8. On a more serious note, I participated in a Day without Women, which was a tough decision for me to make, but I’m glad I did.

day without women

What I wrote to all my students:

day without women

Well, I think that about wraps it up for what I’ve been grateful for. I’m going to try to get back to writing once a day as it’s so much easier than letting everything pile up (kind of like laundry), but I will not stop! I will continue to be grateful for everything I have, including the 75 essays I’m about to go grade. Just kidding. I’m not thankful for those at all.


a small miracle happened today March 1, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtsbrogno @ 11:57 am

As I think I wrote previously, I was reviewed this year at the university I work for, and I truly did not give much thought to it. I hastily put together my binder and decided that since the university wouldn’t fire me nor was I going to be promoted for any reason (we can’t actually even get promoted), I was going to give zero fucks about this review.

And surprisingly, I got a raving review from the tenured professor who watched my class and went through my binder, and even more miraculously, I got a raving review from my boss, who has NEVER given me a raving review before in 12 years of teaching.

Something must be wrong with the universe because this is not how things usually go, but for today, I’ll take it and be incredibly grateful.


yesterday was the worst day of the year and i’m bitter

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtsbrogno @ 11:53 am

So, I’m trying to find gratitude wherever it may come, but yesterday proved difficult.

To start, I woke up and switched on my computer to do work just to see it had crashed. No problem, it’s a new computer (under a year), so i took it to the trusty tech guys I always use, and after looking at it, they called me to say the entire motherboard had crashed. Which means, good-bye computer. Thus, I had to buy a new computer yesterday with money I don’t really have, but the thing is, I need a computer because of how much work I do at home. I can’t always come to the university to do work. And with a looming 75 essays to grade, I needed a new computer pronto!

Then I had taken the day off school to drive down to Santa Barbara to fight a speeding ticket I received in which I WAS NOT SPEEDING. But I was prepared. My father gave me questions to ask, and when my time came I was fully prepared. I questioned the officer and many times he could only say, “I don’t know.” But I still was found GUILTY. I learned, as I sat and watched other traffic offenders defend their cases, that although the judge was nice and humorous, he was always going to side with the officer. This was not “innocent until found guilty.” This was “guilty because I trust the office more than any human.”

I was furious.

But then I received this message from a former student and it did brighten my day:note


And by the time I got home from Santa Barbara, my brother had made dinner for me and the kids, which was also so kind.


Despite the gratitude I felt, however, I was overcome with a sense of hopelessness and pretty much cried myself to sleep last night. But I did wake up and decide not to let what happened yesterday affect me today (so far this isn’t going so well, though).